symbolize roles

Subject: symbolize roles
From: mlist -at- safenet-inc -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 09:04:11 -0400

One of our products is maintained used by persons taking on one
of three roles "admin", "operator", and "monitor".

They all log into our appliance via a command-line interface.
However, the Help is WebHelp (stand-alone, obviously, since
there's no GUI...).

The "admin" role has the most comprehensive power, and sees
the full command-set. The "operator" role has restricted
ability and can see/use a subset of the shell commands.
The "monitor" role can see/use only the "list" and "show"
sub-commands. Any actions on the system or data are not

However, since the commands or sub-commands that any one
role can see are exactly the same as those commands when
seen and used by a higher role, I want to re-use the same
help topics/pages where possible.

Rather than try to work out some scheme where each role
gets a physically different WebHelp, I'd like them all to
use the same help, but I'd provide page-top icons or section-
highlighting icons to let them know if a page applies to
their role. If it's just informative stuff (Concepts) I'd
leave out the icons. But for anything operational, there'd
be one, two or three icons at the top of the page, symbolizing
who should bother reading.

Is there a "standard" that I could steal? I'm in the
security and crypto biz, but I don't mind borrowing from
another industry. Or has anyone any suggestions for
simple icons to represent those three roles? One suggestion
was to just use arbitrary geometric shapes with color coding
like circle, square, triangle, and some assignment of blue,
yellow and red... which should be useful for the majority of
color-blind users, and would still be useful in black'n'white.

Given that I'm not an arteeste, I'd be limited to existing
icons or something simple. Suggestions? Opinions that it's
a bad idea in general (give reasons)?


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