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So I'm struggling with coming up with a way to do this. Basically, right now, there are two interfaces: One allows you to create and manage groups, and the other allows you to create and manage users. There is a common intersection between the two interfaces but they're just different enough that I'm struggling to find a way to unify them. On the group management interface, you can add N users to your group. Conversely, on the user management interface, you can add M groups to your user.

Is there a good way to consolidate these two interfaces into one, or for UX reasons, should they remain separate?

Edit:

I thought about this on the way home, and I came up with an idea I'd like some feedback on as well. Having used Kdiff3, I'm familiar with 3 way merging (ie, take 2 sources and take the pieces you want and put them into a third category, the result category). An example of 3 way merging would be like so:

enter image description here

Now, my idea is that the person using this interface could theoretically select any number of users, and any number of groups, and add them together in this third "result" category, which would simply add all users to all of the groups.

I'm not sure how intuitive this is, though.

  • Side by side multi select drag and drop. I am developer and that is not even intuitive for me. But that is single interface. – paparazzo Feb 24 '15 at 23:25
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It'll be hard to suggest how to consolidate two interfaces without seeing them first.

Your question is a bit more of action consolidation - to which the answer is yes, this is possible: You can provide a two column view, one for users one for groups, multi-select list in each, and allow drag & drop between them, both ways.

Something similar to this interface:

Two Mac finder windows side by side, with folders in each

But I question whether there's a real need for such a feature, or whether you do this simply want it because you can? I find it hard to think of a task where users will want the option to link N with Ms and at the same instance M with Ns.

I'd argue that users mental plan probably is either:

  • I want this user in these groups
  • I want this group to apply to these users

The point is that there's a subject (either user or group) around which the operation is performed, and I question the likelihood there will be frequent toggling between the subjects.

  • Sorry, you're right. I was writing this right as I left but I was hoping the description would be sufficient for now. I can add some screenshots tomorrow if necessary. You're right, this is both a question of "how could I do this" and also one of "should I do this" -- arguably, I think my idea (edited in) might work out OK, but you're right: they are separate interfaces for separate purposes. – Seiyria Feb 24 '15 at 22:44
  • The other mental plan is "I think I want this user in this group, but who else is in there... maybe not" - a plan that requires the view supplied. It has the benefit of seeing, at a glance, what is the overall situation. Which, I believe, is the whole point of having the 3-parts to the interface - not just a single user-oriented action plan, but serving the purpose of summarizing the current state as well – PandaWood Aug 25 '15 at 1:39

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