user display preferences options

What you're dealing with is the authenticate / authorize sequence.

Authenticate covers topics such as login / password / session access
to the site.
Authorize covers role (or other) based access within the site.

Google either for gems / plugins / discussions

restful_authentication plugin.
also has roles for authorization.
http://github.com/technoweenie/restful-authentication/tree/master
http://railsforum.com/viewtopic.php?id=14216