Overview of User Permissions

Updated Jan 11, 2021

This article will give you a high-level overview of how permissions work in ScreenSteps. Note: Not all permissions features are available on all ScreenSteps plans. If you are unable to apply permissions at the Manual or Chapter level, reach out to support@screensteps.com to learn how you can upgrade.

Video Overview

Continue reading for more detailed descriptions on user roles, setting up, and applying permissions.

What can you do with user permissions?

User permissions enable you to control:

  1. Who can view your articles in a private, published knowledge base (and which articles they can view)  
  2. Who can view the Admin area of your ScreenSteps site
  3. Who can contribute to your knowledge base (and how they can contribute)

This allows you to roll your private knowledge base out to several different audiences because you can restrict what employees or customers can see. This also allows you to recruit more authors to help out because you can restrict which articles/chapters/manuals they can work on.

How to set up permissions

Here are the three main steps for setting up permissions:

  1. Assign a role to a user
  2. Set up the permission rules
    • Establish permission rules either for individual users or for user groups.
      • Define rules for viewing a published site and the Admin area
      • Define rules for editing content
  3. Refine permissions for specific Manuals/Chapters/Articles
    • Restrict viewing permissions to published manuals/chapters/articles
    • Restrict editing permissions to manuals/chapters/articles

1. Assigning roles to users

ScreenSteps

First, let's take a look at the four different roles that you can assign users in ScreenSteps:

  1. Admin – This role can view everything in your ScreenSteps account and no restrictions can be applied. Assign this role to users who will be doing administrative tasks (e.g. managing user accounts).
  2. Contributor – This role can view and modify content in your ScreenSteps site(s). You can also restrict what a contributor can view and edit, and you can allow contributors to manage certain properties of a site (e.g. channels, courses). Assign this role to users who will be editing/reviewing/managing content.
  3. Reader – This role can view published knowledge base articles and can manage the settings of its user profile. You can restrict what this role can view as well as give them permission to view courses and the Chrome extension. Assign this role to users who only need to view the published site.
  4. API Access – This role is used with the ScreenSteps API to view content.

Below is a table that shows the types of functions each role can access.

Function Role

Admin Contributor Reader API
View Published Site



View Chrome Extension



View Courses



View Admin Area



View Billing



Edit Content (manuals/chapters/articles)



Manage Site Template



Manage Courses



Manage Channels



View Reports



Modify Account Settings



Access Account Area (e.g. Users, Groups)



Read content from the ScreenSteps API



2. Set up Permission Rules

You can manage permissions for two areas of the ScreenSteps application:

  1. Viewing content in a private, published site (applies to Readers and Contributors)
  2. Viewing and modifying content in the Admin area (applies only to Contributors)

You will set up rules for either an individual user level or for a user group.

2.1. Viewing permissions for the published site

When you assign a Reader or a Contributor viewing permission to a private, published site, the highest level you can assign them to is a site. For example, if you were to create a new user with a Reader role, you could add them to one or more sites and they would have permission to view that entire site.

ScreenSteps

But, you can refine what a Reader or Contributor can see in a site by making viewing permissions more granular (i.e. at the Manual/Chapter/Article level).

2.1.1. Making viewing permissions more granular

If there are articles, chapters, or manuals that you do not want Readers and Contributors to be able to see, or that you ONLY want them to see, you can apply viewing restrictions to a user in one of two ways:

  1. Create a group with viewing permission rules and then add a user to the group
  2. Modify the user's individual profile with viewing permission rules
Example of when to create a User Group for Viewing Permissions

User groups allow you to apply a set of permission rules and viewing restrictions to several users at once. This makes it much easier to manage a large number of users.

Example: You are using ScreenSteps to support several departments. You could create a User Group for Department A, modify the group permissions, and then assign all employees from Department A to that group. They will only see articles, chapters, or manuals that apply to their role.

You could then create a User Group for Department B, modify the group permissions, and then assign all employees from Department B to that group.

If an employee needed to see articles from both groups, you could assign them to both groups and they would inherit viewing permissions from both groups.

Example of when to modify a user profile for Viewing Permissions

You can set viewing permissions to individual users.

We recommend managing viewing permissions at the group level when possible and that you only manage viewing permissions at the individual user level for one-off situations.

Note: You can add more permissions/restrictions to an individual user, even if they belong to a User Group.

2.1.2. Site Permission Rules for Viewing a Published Site

  • Assigned Content Only: This group/user can ONLY see articles, chapters, or manuals that they have been explicitly assigned to in the published site. Nothing else. For example, if you hire contractors and you only want them to be able to see the Contractor Manual, users in this group can only see what they have been assigned (you will not need to lock down all the other manuals/chapters/articles in your site).
  • Unrestricted & Assigned Content: This group/user can see all manuals/chapters/articles in the published site that have not been restricted AND you can assign them to manuals/chapters/articles that are restricted.
  • All Content: Members of this group/individual user can see all content in the published site whether it's been restricted or not.

Once you have assigned permission rules to user groups or individual users, you can apply viewing permissions at the manual, chapter, or article level.

Note: Viewing permissions for the published site apply to Contributors and Readers.

2.2. Permissions for the Admin area

When you want a user to view the Admin area and/or help author content, you will need to assign them a Contributor roleYou can then assign that user to a site. This means that they would have permission to view the published site AND contribute content to that site.

ScreenSteps

But, you can refine what a Contributor can see and do in the Admin area by making contributor permissions more granular (i.e. at the Manual/Chapter/Article level).

2.2.1. Making Contributor permissions more granular

If you want to restrict Contributor viewing permissions to the Admin area as well as authoring permissions in a more granular way, you can do it by:

  1. Creating a group with restrictions and then adding Contributors to the group.
  2. Modifying the Contributor's individual profile with authoring permissions.

Note: You can restrict viewing permissions for a Contributor in a published site the same way you restrict viewing permissions for a Reader.

Example of when to create a User Group for Contributor permissions

User groups allow you to apply authoring permissions to several users at once. This makes it much easier to maintain the authoring permissions of a large group of authors.

Example: You are using ScreenSteps to support several departments and you want to invite contributors; however, you only want those users to be able to edit content that belongs to their department.

You could create a User Group for Department A, set up the group permissions, and then assign contributors from Department A to that group. They will then only be able to modify articles, chapters, or manuals that their group has permission to edit.

You could then create a User Group for Department B, modify the group permissions, and then assign contributors from Department B to that group.

If an employee needed to modify articles from both groups, you could assign them to both groups and they would inherit editing permissions from both groups.

Example of when to modify a user profile for Contributor Permissions

You can set permissions for individual Contributors.

We recommend managing these permissions at the group level when possible and that you only manage permissions at the individual user level for one-off situations.

Note: You can add more permissions/restrictions to an individual user, even if they belong to a User Group.

Once you have established the group permission rules, or the rules for an individual user, you can assign articles/chapters/manuals to that user.

2.2.2. Site permission rules for Contributors

When setting up permissions for a group or user, you first determine if the Contributors in that group (or the individual user) can access the Admin area:

  • No Access: Contributors do not have access to the Admin area of this site.
  • Limited Access: Contributors can only modify content (e.g. articles/chapters/manuals) they have been explicitly added to.
  • Full Access: Contributors can view and edit all content in the Admin area. No further restrictions can be made.

If you select Limited Access, you can further restrict what Contributors can do in the Admin area:

  • View content in the Admin area: the content Contributors can see in the Admin area.
    • No Content: Contributors can not see any content in the Admin area.
    • Assigned Only: Contributors can only see articles/chapters/manuals in the Admin area that they have been assigned. You must assign the article/chapter/manual to this group. Selecting this option also limits what they can author. You must assign authoring permissions at the manual/chapter/article level.
    • All Content: Contributors can see all articles/chapters/manuals in the Admin area.
  • Author content in the Admin area:
    • No Access: Contributors cannot modify any content.
    • Review Only: Contributors can only review content in the Admin area.
    • Contribute But Not Publish: Contributors can edit articles but cannot publish or modify chapters/manuals.
    • Manage and Publish: Contributors can manage and publish articles/chapters/manuals.

You can also make Admin Modules available to Contributors:

  • Manage Site Template: Modify the appearance of the published site.
  • Manage Courses: Create, update, and modify courses.
  • Manage Channels: Create, update, and modify channels for contextual help.
  • View Reports: View reports such as article views, user views, search queries, etc.

You can refine permissions around responding to public comments and managing Uncategorized Articles as well.

3. Refine permissions for specific Manuals/Chapters/Articles

After you have set up user group/user permission rules for Contributors and Readers, you will navigate to the individual Manual, Chapter, or Article and assign user groups or individual users where you can further apply permission settings.

3.1. Restricting viewing permissions to published content

For each manual/chapter/article, you can select whether it is visible to:

  • Assigned Users or Groups: Only Readers, Contributors, and API Access who have All Content permission or have explicitly been assigned can view the content.
    • You would then select the users or groups who can view it.
  • Everybody With Access to the Site: Only Readers, Contributors, and API Access who have Unrestricted & Assigned Content or All Content can view the content.
    • If users or groups have Assigned Content Only, you will need to add them. They can ONLY see content that they have explicitly been assigned.

3.2. Restricting Author Permissions

For each manual/chapter/article, you can refine what Contributors with Limited Access can do by selecting:

  • No Access: Contributors cannot view content in the Admin area.
  • Review Only: Contributors can view content in the Admin area but cannot make edits.
  • Contribute But Not Publish: Contributors can edit content but they cannot publish their changes.
  • Manage & Publish Articles Only: Contributors can edit and publish articles but cannot modify chapters/manuals.
  • Manage & Publish: Contributors can edit and publish articles and can modify chapters/manuals.

You can also manage whether Contributors can moderate public comments, or just view and reply.

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