I'm attempting to implement an interface for managing user roles. Each role can be allowed access to specific modules. Within those modules the user is also allowed access to specific activities. I've attempted this, as others have in the past, by doing a table view of checkboxes but it does not seem intuitive or user friendly. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I've already done a search on this site and didn't really find anything helpful.

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  • If I understand the question correctly, the UI needs to allow selecting access levels for various modules, i.e. Contacts, User Dashboard, User Role Manager, Companies, and Admin. What exactly are the possible access levels for each of the modules? E.g. for the Contacts module, do you need to be able to assign permissions of Create Contact, Edit Contact, Delete Contact, and Set Permissions? Also, there be a hierarchy of access privileges, e.g. if a user can Delete a contact, should that person always be allowed to Edit and Create them? Nov 9, 2013 at 7:59
  • (continuation of @Su-LaineYeoBrodsky's comment) If privileges are hierarchical, you should use a more restrictive control, such as radio buttons, instead of checkboxes to assign them. (BTW If there is no strong use case for non-hierarchical access levels, I would argue for the system to have them be hierarchical as it will save time for the user to click one radio button instead of multiple checkboxes. Also, it will give you the option of making the user go to the "Edit Contact" screen in order to Delete a contact.)
    – Ben Brocka
    Nov 10, 2013 at 20:39

3 Answers 3


You can just re-organize the table to create more consistent view. See the picture. Access column is uniform across the table, but nested elements are distinct visually and relation to parent element is visible, too.
enter image description here


I would go with minimum effort in this case.

I think that clicking behavior from left-right is more natural for western countries.The first change will be changing the checkbox and module arrangement.

I will add some smart checkbox for selecting all and also will change the element who has sub-categories. In this case it is User Role Manager.

Checkbox to front

Maybe the place of checkbox is on right but not right.

Please also check this link: Should checkbox labels be to the right or the left?

  • Does clicking the left-side checkboxes toggle open the display of sub-options?
    – Erics
    Nov 12, 2013 at 14:03
  • Yes, If there is sub-options, clicking the main option will bring you the sub-options.
    – Abektes
    Nov 15, 2013 at 8:52

I would go with 2 buckets: One with the available permission and the other is those granted.

User would then either drag-and-drop or click on assign button in the middle.


For an example of drag and drop list, see http://dojocampus.org/explorer/#Dojo_Drag%20And%20Drop_Lists

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