At my company we are making a website where we have about four roles:

  1. Not signed User
  2. Signed User
  3. Representative
  4. Administrator

If a user is signed in, we have a option for access to a page called settings that displays user settings which he can change. But Representative and Administrator have more pages, where they may edit data about the organization they represent or data about the application. This need for a "administration" page is something new, born of a change in business means.

The opinion of the development team is to fuse the two into a "Settings" page. I voiced against it because jamming it into the settings page is not good semmantic, and may make the users misunderstand. My opinion is for a "Options Zone"/"User Panel" where the user may choose one of many pages to change settings or administrate his Organization.

Are there guidelines or a best practices way of doing it?

  • Best practices for... IA? For administrative panels?
    – UXerUIer
    Nov 10, 2015 at 14:33
  • 3
    Your thought was already the right one. Make an admin panel, not putting it in the settings page. That makes no sense. I think the development team is trying to cut corners to reduce development time?
    – UXerUIer
    Nov 10, 2015 at 14:34
  • 1
    Thanks! I think it may be reasonable to make settings a subitem of administration (when users can use both), is it? Nov 10, 2015 at 14:49
  • What do you mean?
    – UXerUIer
    Nov 10, 2015 at 14:57
  • Depending on what your Admin functions are, it's perfectly reasonable to group them into a settings area that changes based on permissions/role. Nov 10, 2015 at 20:07

3 Answers 3


You are correct that these should be distinct areas because the primary tasks are different:

  • one is related to an individual user's settings (typically under a user menu at the header level and called Settings or User Settings)
  • another area is related to settings that impact 1 or more users (typically called "Administration" and only available for users with admin-level permissions)

even the admin and rep users will have their own user settings panel which may have more options than a signed user.

This way both areas also have more room to grow as functionality is added.


If your "Representative" is able to change "data about the organization they represent" (and I assume this organization page is somewhere on your site map), then why not place these editing functions on that page? I have no idea how your site is structured (i.e., how easy it will be for the representative to get to the organization page), but my first try would be to put the editing where the to-be-edited object is.


For simplicity it may make sense to:

  1. For all user roles (except the non-authenticated users) have 1 settings area - label it as you see fit.
  2. Within that area anddepending on the user roles (and the access rights that this implies) have completely different Setting pages.

For example: An Administrator may land in the Settings page and see a Dashboard, with blocks presenting key information about adminidstrative elements and shortcuts to create, manage, delete these elements.

On the other hand a Signed user may land in the Settings page and simply see his profile (with the possibility to edit) assuming tha this is his only "settings functionality".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.