Please see image below. The drop down I'm struggling with is the "permission level" drop down. Users won't be immediately familiar with what the different permission levels mean. In the screenshot, I've included the description of the level within the drop-down menu, but am wondering if there's a better way? I played with radio buttons but that made it more difficult to read horizontally - it made it harder to immediately see what permission level is associated to each school. Another thing to note is that the options within "permission level" can vary based on the school that's selected (3 options are the maximum). Any help would me much appreciated!

enter image description here

  • Your solution is reasonable: having descriptions users will pick correct level easily. Still pay attention of how the descriptions are formulated. It's better to use terms and concepts which are used by school, as they are familiar to users. Also +Add Permissions button looks confusing. Did you mean Add School? – Alexey Kolchenko Nov 6 '14 at 9:06
  • For just three levels, I'd probably use radio button (or nicer equivalent), with heading and short descriptive text below. Lowest level pre-selected. No need to make it complex and a drop-down seems overkill. As always, IMHO, YMMV, etc. – Steve Jones Nov 6 '14 at 16:40

Your approach seems fine to me. I'd just be a little more detailed and make sure what each level can and cannot do is amply clear. Something like this:

enter image description here

These could be visual indicators of each level, too (probably an icon?). Sorry about the typos in that mockup! :)


you could leave out the description, but put a help-icon next to each role. The help-icon, perhaps a (?) or an (i), show a more detailed description in a tooltip.

With this way, you have a nice, clean look and users can easily get information about the roles.

  • The trouble with hover effects is that they're only available to people using a mouse. People with touchscreens or keyboard-only users won't be able to view them. – JonW Nov 6 '14 at 12:43
  • @JonW unless you can also show the tooltip by hitting the info-icon.. – christian.s Nov 6 '14 at 12:46
  • 1
    That is sometimes possible, but in this situation it's appearing in a dropdown, so the whole dropdown item itself is clickable so it's going to cause some confusion when navigating it and clicking items in it as to what it is the user expects from a click. Usually it's 'click for select' in dropdown, not 'click to reveal more information depending on where about in the dropdown you click'. – JonW Nov 6 '14 at 14:00

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