Where does all the rubbish go?
Designing a three-level impersonation administrator tool bar
In one of the large projects, we were faced with three-level access model, a system administrator, an agency administrator, and an account administrator. Each can create the entity of the level below his access level, and assign an admin user. The system administrator has power to access everything below and change or delete anything. Same goes for agency admins. For the administrator to be able to delete or change a sub entity, the user must some how impersonate the sub level admin, and the interface must reflect his current position, and what tasks he can carry out.
A breadcrumb of where the user is currently at was always part of the solution. The question was where should it be placed, and how can the user interact with it.
An attention bar fix-positioned at the top edge of the screen.
Less prominent but more integrated bar, closer to content.
Expanded side list
My first attempt at a solution involved a side bar that shows all the allowed administrative actions the user can make. As the system admin goes through it by clicking on a “manage this agency” link, the side bar would show more options available for the agency administrator. But it was clear to me a side bar was eating too much space of the page, and the user is not in need of jumping around between tasks.
Later I tried to hide the options under an “administrator” link.
Breadcrumbs initiated lists
But finally I realized I can make use of the breadcrumbs themselves. Instead of clicking on every piece to take user to main administration page, it will simply drop down the administrative tasks available at that specific level. So here is how I ended up doing.
Note: I know I tend to be crude in displaying those tips, but the point is getting it out of my system, and logging it for future reference. Hoping someone would benefit from it.