Consider the case where an unauthenticated user sees a main navigation with a few items:

Wireframe of navigation with three tabs

In the old days, someone with admin privileges might log in and simply see additional items exclusive to their role:

Wireframe of navigation with five tabs

In some systems, all of those items would be dumped into an "Admin" menu.

It seems this isn't what is done anymore - it obviously creates a confusing experience for a user who is inadvertently in an unauthenticated state and doesn't recognize it.

What are better alternatives to role-based or authentication-based items in the same menu? Adding secondary/utility menus seems to be a popular solution, but even that seems like a dated pattern. Are admins now taken to their own highly differentiated "admin experience", and is this practical in most cases? What if the admin only needs access to one additional function, such as managing users - is it worth creating a wholly unique experience for that user?

1 Answer 1


There are two different aspects:

  1. Do we want to lure normal users to get more features enabled for them? For example, switching to PRO version in some apps.

  2. Separating users based on their roles (in ldap or some other role management store).

I think question is more about Aspect 2.

I think it is better to go with current design where grouping of Admin options in one menu item and hide/show based on role is more convenient to users and developers.

But for Aspect 1, it better to disable(or let them enable to remind them to upgrade) where the options are instead of grouping them in one place.

Hope this helps.


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