How I simplified the Users and Group UI – Intro

Previously, I’d blogged about a simplified Users and Groups UI for SharePoint. I really annoys me that the standard one is so complex – I’m a techy, and a specialist, and it confuses me! I’m not sure what chance non-specialist admins will have.

The worst part is, though, often users just want to add or remove users from a pretty limited set of groups. I mean, this is implied by the standard ‘Visitors/Members/Owners’ groups on a site. Unfortunately, there are often a lot of other groups, and other complexities shown through the standard user interface in SharePoint.

For a Case Management system we’ve been working on, I built a simplified user interface. The idea was to make it easy for non-techies to add and remove users from specific groups. They weren’t to have access to all groups, and this wasn’t to replace the ordinary People and Groups pages – so more technical staff could still use those too. What I came up with is shown below.


It appears similar, initially – but the navigation on the left is the same as for the rest of our case site. Only the relevant groups (“Case Workers” and “Case Owners“) are linked to on the left, and these links are only shown to users who can edit the groups (Home and Audit aren’t related to people and groups). Also, the menus on this page only let users add or remove users – which is all they should need to do.

Note that the “Case Workers” and “Case Owners” groups are just the groups we happened to be using – you could build this to work for others, depending on your needs.

I built this user interface using 3 application pages put into the _layouts directory. They’re actually Code Behind ASPX pages, and so this is a Visual Studio solution, though some sections of the application could be built in SharePoint Designer.

The pages themselves are for:

  • Listing the users and letting admins remove users.
  • A page for adding new users.
  • A redirect page for identifying the correct ID for the group we want to edit.

The solution is a little complicated, so I’m going to break it down into pieces:

How I simplified the Users and Group UI – Intro

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