We're designing a system that allows administrators to create an infinite number of users, and create an infinite number of organizations.

Most users will only belong to one organization, but some belong to more than one (and it might be necessary to remove a user's access from all organizations quickly). An organization might have just one user, or many. There's also a little hierarchy involved, where a user could belong to a parent organization, or one/all of its children.

There's a little debate: Is it better UX to assign organizations at the user level, or users at the organization level? Either way, we're thinking it's best to provide access to the information in both places. But if you could only choose one place for setup and editing, which would you choose, and why?

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    If the answer is to prefer one, please add more context. It completely depends on the purpose for the user to add people to organizations and at what point in the workflow of this user.
    – jazZRo
    Oct 26, 2020 at 8:00
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    The system is a backoffice where handful of administrators add users. There's an Organizations section and a User Management section. Originally, the system showed Organizations with just a primary contact, and User Management was mostly for backoffice administrators; we're now providing the ability to have multiple Organization Users listed for each Organization. But the Organization Users will have roles; does it make more sense to manage them under User Management? Or have them set up under their respective Organizations? Is there a best practice for this?
    – Izquierdo
    Oct 26, 2020 at 14:51

1 Answer 1


Despite your rules, I would still put it in both places.

There are obvious use cases for both instances and you would be limiting your app if you only allowed for one of them.

You need to be able to edit user access for all organisations that they are assigned to. It is not feasible to expect the user to navigate through all the organisations individually to achieve this, so it is important that you can manage this at a user level.

As you have said, this might need to be done quickly, so you need it in one place. As a side suggestion, you might want to consider having a simple "allow access" checkbox for each user that determines access to the system regardless of the assigned organisations. Sort of like a "block user" flag.

For similar reasons, you might need to bulk edit a bunch of users in a single organisation. For example, perhaps you need to quickly remove 5 users' access to a specific organisation. Again, you cannot expect the user to go through each user account individually to achieve this.

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