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i was recently logged in to a members-only web site (of which i'm a member) and noticed two buttons in the left navigation titled:

    • Administrator Options
    • Record Keeping Information

upon clicking on either one i was presented with a pop-up and this message:

Please note:
In order to speed up some of the lookup functions of the website, it was necessary to enable the Website Admin Button for all user screens. The Admin Button is only functional for users with Admin Rights. Clicking on the Admin Button will check if the user is a current admin and then go to the admin site if the user has rights to those pages.

huh?  okay, seriously...i'm not the best developer, but i do know there are two ways off the top of my head that i could think of solving this...1) caching and 2) role-based security (some type of bitmasking)

seriously folks, you shouldn't show features that aren't available to users...you are just inviting frustration.  this was a huge problem in sharepoint 2003 when basically every user could see all admin functionality and they wouldn't be alerted to what they couldn't do until they tried to complete the task (yes, you could walk through all steps in a wizard and then fail on the 'finish' button).

don't let systems rule your experience design...if it starts to, then something is wrong in my opinion.  systems are successful when users use them and when they aren't frustrated.  abstracting this type of stuff is key i think...

do you think this is what the designers had in mind?  design smart, develop smarter.

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