I'm exploring the idea of using a two column relationship to deal with granting user permissions. The left column has rows where the user can be granted a 'view' or 'edit' permission in each cell row. Depending on the selection, the column on the right would be highlighted to show in more granular details what pages those permissions have access to.

I have a sketch below, any examples of this in practice that you can share? !enter image description here

  • Can you resubmit a sketch which gives some example data? It's unclear what you are looking for (eg are the blank cells truly blank? For the right column how does a user actually grant a permission?). It's hard to provide feedback because it's unclear how this ux works.
    – tohster
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 18:34
  • I have added a revised sketch to demonstrate the concept. Permissions on the left give the user access to spacific features. The column on the right shows the user what specific website pages those features are associated with. There is not a linear relationship between the Permission and the Pages. So for example if Permission 5 were selected, it may overlap with some web pages that Permission 3 is associated with.
    – Magenta7
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 18:59
  • Much clearer, thanks. What is the role of view vs. edit inside the left hand column? For example, what if you needed Page A to have Permission1(View) and Page B to have Permission1(edit)?
    – tohster
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 19:05
  • Its close to what you have described. By illustration, having Permission 1 (View) would activate the user's access to Page A. If they were also granted Permission 1(Edit) then they would get access to Page B (and possibly other pages since there isn't a strict 1:1 mapping).
    – Magenta7
    Commented Feb 15, 2015 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


What you are describing is a very UX pattern, which is a policy editor. Generally, this entails selecting and editing a policy, and visualizing/editing the scope of the policy.

Usually this results in an interface similar to what you sketched out, but with some adjustments:

  1. For the left hand column, it's unclear whether the checkboxes are controls or just indicators. If they are controls, it's awkward to have a "control within a control". If it's a visualization, consider removing the box and just displaying the check mark.

  2. Confusing use of the term 'Edit'. You have an edit button which allows admins to edit permissions. You also use 'Edit' to describe whether a permission allows a user to edit a page. Consider migrating this second term to something like 'can edit'.

  3. You obviously have a lot of potential pages in the right hand column (hence the more... button). Policy editors often show just the pages which the user has permissions for. This saves space, and makes both the flow and presentation simpler. If you need to be able to add a page to the list (for a given permission), then place an 'Add page...' button.

  4. Lastly, it would be helpful to have some visual connection between the left and right columns, to indicate that the left relates to the right. For example, a triangular indicator between the columns.

Aside from these critiques, what you've laid out is a pretty common solution to a pretty common problem. If you're looking for live examples, you can look at the Windows or Mac security policy editor, Google Apps permissions interface, Amazon Web Services security policy or load balancer editor, etc.

Hope that helps

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