I need some guidance regarding the following design issue. In my application I need to create, maintain, delete and manage so called "Roles", they are just basically a name and a description pairs. I have two ideas for the GUI managing these roles:

The first one as you can see basically has a table with two columns, and a "Delete" and an "Add" button to the right.

First image

and the second one, which has everything the firs one has, but also some extra fields down to enter data.

The second one

The main difference between the forms is how the user interacts with them. With the first one he presses the "Add" button, a new row appears in the table and there he can specify the details. Modifying the role is also done similarly, the user "double clicks" the row and there he can change the data. When the user single clicks the row, nothing happens, just the row is selected. Deletion is done on the selected row by pressing the "Delete" button.

The second one behaves differently: On the addition, when the user presses the "Add" button the tow text fields below are being initialized to "empty" the user there fills in the data and he needs to press the "Apply" button. This creates a new row in the table. Modifying is done in the following manner: the user clicks a row, the application populates the two text fields below, then he presses the "Apply" button and the application updates the table. Deletion is done in the following manner: User selects row, presses "Delete" application removes row and empties the text fields below.

And here are my questions:

  1. Which approach is more recommended?
  2. Where should I place the addition/deletion buttons? Right now my application uses the same position as shown here for all the forms, but I would like the opinion of the experts about this. I need to mention, that other forms which also have the buttons for Delete/Add on the left side of the table, have also a tiny toolbar with other icons above the table for operations as Save/Load/New.
  3. Is it Ok to have icons in the header of the table?

Thank you for your insight.


1 Answer 1


I think the delete button has an appropriate positioning, plus it also cues the possibility of performing multi deletion of items since the button is outside the table, rather than mapped to a single item. (Btw, if multi selection delete isn't possible you should add it)

For the creation of items I would suggest another solution than the ones that you listed. Since you allow editing and deletion of items by selecting items in the list it would also be preferable if the user could add items from the list as well. Therefore I suggest a solution looking something like this.

enter image description here

In this solution the user adds an item by clicking in the empty cell at the bottom (or maybe on top if there are many items). This could allow a user workflow that allows the user add a set of roles without having to leave the keyboard, simply:

  1. The user clicks on New role
  2. The user types the role name and description
  3. The user clicks enter
  4. Repeat from step 2

This provides a much more efficient way to add a set of role items.

  • 1
    I like this approach, I will go for it. Thank you! Commented Jan 22, 2013 at 10:16

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