It was the third call of the day:

“Duncan, do you think you could help us set up this new client? We’re can’t figure out how to add permissions so that they can edit their content…”

This was the topic of conversation for over 6 months. As the product became more popular and more clients were signed on the same issue came back to bite time and time again.

The B2B product we had built worked flawlessly for the thousands of end-users.

But the support emails kept coming in.

What we hadn’t accounted for was that it was the product’s internal sales and account management team, there was no IT helpdesk or support team.

The settings and more importantly the permissions system was unfathomably complex. Driven by a desire from the client to have an almost infinitely configurable set-up.

After talking with the client and reining in the requirements, the solution was to redesign and refactor. An extensive rebuild ensued.

That experience left an indelible mark.

Very recently I was involved in the from-scratch design of the settings and permissions in a B2B product.

When I started researching the topic I found that in the ensuing years very little had actually been written about the topic.

To that end I have written an extensive guide on permissions systems with examples from the most recent designs.

Lesson: Just because three are only two users in the persona, doesn’t mean that they’re not important.

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