I'm investigating options for how to present a 'self-update' system that requires approval by an authority. An analogy might be, updating your profile on this site, but someone needs to approve your edit.

The complexity in this situation is:

  1. The approval might take a few days to enact.
  2. The edits might be done by more than one person. E.g. the profile is for an organisation, any of the users of that organisation can make an edit.
  3. Desire to allow multiple edits (across the whole profile) without specifically locking anything since there is a pending edit.

When thinking of the UX, the options to present this to the user seem to be:

  1. Any edit locks all future edits of the profile until acceptance/rejection.
    Users are shown the original content.
  2. Any edit locks all future edits of the profile until acceptance/rejection. Users are shown the new content (perhaps indicating it is a pending edit).
  3. Similar to 1, but at a field level.
  4. Similar to 2, but at a field level.
  5. No locks, but each field is shown in it's original state, but a hover (or other indication) allows the 'queue' of unapproved changes to be shown.
  6. Similar to 5, but showing the last (but as yet unapproved) edit.

There is a desire to allow multiple edits, but I'm struggling to find other systems to cite as examples. Perhaps the only one I can think of is Wikipedia that allows revoking edits. In the case of Wikipedia, do they have a model of unpublished pending edits or do they always show the last change?

Ideas and referenced examples welcome.

  • Did you got the answer to your question? Feb 1, 2016 at 5:51
  • Yours, it's created some discussion. We're revisiting the design problem this week.
    – Ray Hayes
    Feb 14, 2016 at 10:35

1 Answer 1


Given the complexity of your situation, before giving a suggestion, let me caution you about few things

1) If review process takes long time, especially if reviewer need to refer to some other system or wait for another event to happen before finally approving the edit, then by the time one they come up with a response to an edit potentially another edit may come and their whole effort of putting together a response may go for a toss.

2) If the extent of edit is different by different users and different nature of edits demands different reviewers then one reviewer may end up overwriting the content of another, which is also totally undesirable.

I would like draw your attention towards the stack-exchange's method of informing the users about an edit (which is still unapproved) by showing

edit as edit(1)

This clearly inform the user that some edit has been made but it still require approval from someone who can review edits. Until then rest of the users can only see original content. Once the edit is approved, user can see the edited content with the sufficient information telling user about

1) When change was made,

2) Who made the change and who approved (preferably),

3) and Highlighting the changes (would love to have it)

So among the options you have given,

1) Any edit locks all future edits of the profile until acceptance/rejection. Users are shown the original content.

3) Similar to 1, but at a field level.

I would go for option 3, as long as you can ensure that

1) Field level edits don't contradict each other and user is forced to edit all related fields as well. For example, if I have edited a Country to India from China, then State should be changed as well.

2) Communications about edits are received soon enough and review turn-around time is assisted by system to be fast enough so that multiple edits can be performed without waiting (for long) for one edit-review-cycle to complete.

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