Like the title say...

Say there are 4 different role of user (Warehouse Staff, Sales Staff, Purchasing Staff, Managers) that need to edit an [Item]. And the fields in [Item] form that can be filled is dependent upon the role of the user.

Let's say the one who can add new item and edit and enter its general info and inventory is the Warehouse Staff.

Sales Staff is responsible for the sales information (edit capability) of the said item, and able to read the general & inventory info.

Purchasing is responsible for the purchasing info (edit capability), and also able to read the general & inventory info, but they cannot see sales info.

Managers are able to add new item, edit, and view all of the info (general, inventory, sales, and purchase).

There's a chance that two people is editing different parts of the form. (ie. both Accounting and Sales are editing their respective section)

Should I divide it into a :

1. different form altogether

By this I mean each section is accessed through different url (ie. ../items/sales-info or ../items/general-info, accessed from Item List page - which shows a table of items with action column for edit and delete purposes. Then there'll be a 4 edit buttons: 1 for General Info, 1 for Sales Info, and so on).

Or it used the format of No.2 below, but the tabs acts as link to another page, instead of to a hidden div in current page.

2. separate it as tab sections ? Layout 2

And where should the save button for the form resides if its no.2 ?

I'm more leaning to No.2, but I'm a bit hesitant about the UX. Anyways, this is what I think about both options:

No. 1. It's much clearer since it's save-this-page-first-or-you'll-lose-your-data, and putting save button on each form encouraging this way of thinking. But if the user need to look at general info, they're forced to change pages (more load time). (menu is generated according to the user role)

No. 2. Changing sections to view info is easier and faster since all have been loaded and no need to change pages back and forth. But, save buttons placement might be a little confusing for users which role enabled them to edit multiple tabs. [is the button only save this section? or the whole form?] confusion.

Any insight to a better solution is appreciated. Thanks!

  • Your question could certainly use a few images or mockups you might have to better represent what you need, essentially. Jun 29, 2016 at 6:46
  • Ok, I've added the mockups. :)
    – margie
    Jun 29, 2016 at 7:39

2 Answers 2


Probably incorrect use of Tabs.

Ideally they system will already know who the user is (e.g. because they signed in) so you can show the correct form.

If you don't know who the user is, you could implement progressive disclosure by starting with a Role drop-down field. Once you chose what role you are you can now display the appropriate fields for the role. In this way you do not need to use tabs.

  • Yes, the system will know who the user and their role, the user can also change his/her role (if they have multiple role).
    – margie
    Jun 29, 2016 at 14:25
  • The tabs also will only shown certain tabs according to their role. (Sales can only fill Sales and other tabs other than General will be hidden from their view). Sorry if I wasn't clear about this... I'm just wondering how should I present the form (since it's a long form per section) for each role and make it quick for them to see what they need to fill out instead of scrolling to the bottom looking for editable fields... Or maybe I should just show as one form (maybe group it with a fieldset instead of tabs) since they only see what they're allowed to see after all?
    – margie
    Jun 29, 2016 at 14:46
  • If you know who the user is and what roles they have access too, then you can display everything their privileges allow. The question is should you group that information using tabs or not?You can only answer that question if you know what fields and features are related to each role. Tab are just one of many UI grouping mechanisms.
    – SteveD
    Jun 29, 2016 at 14:53

Thank you all for the insight!

After some considerations -weighing on past experiences of my seniors, studying on mature ERP/CRM/WMS software, various opinion across the web and here, and also the target of the product-, I decided to mix both solution (dividing the forms based on the relationship to the role).

I've divided the from into 4 specific form - for specific role that only have access to a certain part of the form, and one master form - for roles that able to see all parts of the form. Each form have layout & data tailored for their respective target role (specific form is a one-page form, while master form will be divided into tabs), this way button placement will not trigger confusion.

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