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Scenario:

  • Jonathan, a sales representative, gets a phone call from Americorp regarding a problem with their backend admin console. Jonathan signs into his account so he can find Americorp's information and resolve the issue.

Design:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Language:

  • Are "sign in/ sign out" the correct labels? John (our sales rep) must retain his name within the client's account so changes are recorded as John.
  • "Impersonate" feels like an odd label to present to users.
  • Would John immediately understand "Back to my account" rather than "sign out"?
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Does this mean that you need to provide two different levels of sign-out for the user who has this particular type of role/access as well (in case he wants to sign-out completely)?

I am not sure what the term for it would be, but in other contexts it has been referred to as a nominee or proxy account.

I think the design is fine other than the dropdown for Johnny can be a little bit confusing when he is signed in under another account. Will it be disabled or can another sales representative other than Johnny access his account as well?

  • The utility nav does contain items such as manage users, account settings, etc. Since Johnny is literally signed into the client's account as himself, I thought it still made sense to retain the utility navigation because it gives him access to other settings for the client's account. – erik_lev Jul 31 '14 at 4:42
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    Okay, it just looked like because it was a dropdown containing Johnny's name, it could be used for switching between different user accounts. – Michael Lai Jul 31 '14 at 4:48
  • Ah, good point and thought. My only other concern is a normal account has "sign out" within the utility navigation. As a result, Johnny would see two "sign out" options in the event that he is signed into someone else's account. – erik_lev Jul 31 '14 at 4:58
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    I don't think the two sign out options are a big issue, since you have separated them (and you can't see one of them by default). The user will simply see the top bar disappear after they click sign out there, so it is unlikely they will sign out of their account accidentally. What you need to work out is what happens when Johnny tries to sign out when he is still signed in one behalf of someone else. – Michael Lai Jul 31 '14 at 5:08
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If changes are recorded under his name instead of the other account, I think that impersonate not only sounds odd, but is actually misleading.

Act as, Substitute, or Use Account [of] would sound less odd than impersonate, but have the same problem. I actually cannot think of a label that would not be misleading, so maybe a note could inform the user of this.

I think that the label for the log out should be the opposite of the log in. So stop acting as, stop substituting , and back to my account are all fine.

And yes, I think that just sign out might be very confusing. It should then at least be sign out of <x> account.

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