Inputs and facts:

  • System users might have various roles, based on permissions.
  • Some roles with advanced permissions allow access to specific items (e.g. posts), which are not visible to users with regular permissions.
  • Items in system often presented as lists or cards.
  • We have both web and mobile applications.

Problem definition:

Goal is to ensure user with advanced permission does not miss those important specific items, and design a way to quickly get access to those specific items later on.

Options considered:

  • Show specific items in the top of the list with some color emphasize until user taps "OK, got it" or something similar, then they go to the usual feed as regular item.
  • Make tabs and filter their contents by permissions (but this is not good, as it is not clear what permissions exactly include into each of tabs).
  • Make a menu item or workflow something like "My priority stuff" and filter all specific items there. So, keep it as a completely separate object.
  • Use filtering (by time, by importance).

Please share your thoughts what solution you would consider. Appreciate your comments and ideas.

  • 5
    Do you have a proposed design that we can see? This might help the community to assess any challenges in the design and thus give you constructive feedback.
    – SteveD
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 8:59
  • At least some basic mockups or early designs will help the community to come up with something.
    – Harshal
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 14:52

2 Answers 2


It's difficult to visualise what you are thinking about, but here is some general advice.


The first issue you seem to describe is about 'onboarding' - getting users familiar with the functions. You don't want them to miss important things.

You suggest "Show specific items in the top of the list with some color emphasize until user taps "OK, got it" or something similar, then they go to the usual feed as regular item." That can work. Sometimes websites have a banner at the top to get attention about one thing, with an 'x' to remove it once you've read it.

However, it sounds like you have a few things and are envisioning users switching from one permission to another. Not sure. But if you google for "onboarding tool javascript" (without quotes), you'll come up with those great 'tour' tools that point out new features step by step. That's really the best way if there are several steps or it's a little complex.

What is locked?

If you just need users to know what is access controlled and what isn't, a simple red lock symbol next to the item can be all that is needed. When a user clicks/taps that, they can find a description of who that is locked to.

Information structure

Don't create a new menu if it doesn't make sense to the structure of the site. But if it fits under "administrator" tools, then that's the way to go. But if there are one or two extra access controlled items here and there, don't break the structure to accommodate that. Just put a lock symbol next to it. However, you could have items in both categories, too. I.e. have your "my priority stuff" - which is much like a favourites section - but also have the items in the normal spot (sorry it's hard to visualise, hope that makes sense).

Of course, what you think is their priority may be different to what your users think is the priority, so what you're probably looking for is customisable favourites, with the default favourites set to what fits for that access level.

The key is: what would make sense to your users? That might require testing.


I think the issue here is how to call for attention, adapted to each category of users and not what permissions a user has.

You should consider for important elements:

  • Placement (is always important for call-to-action elements);
  • Color;
  • Size;

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.