Anyone who has ever run a website with a signup form will know that a surprisingly large number of people are unable to type their own email address correctly. If the email address is wrong, there is no way to contact the user nor to verify their account. So there is some sense in forcing people to at least type the same thing twice, annoying though it is to the majority of us who have no trouble typing our email address.
If you don’t know your password, that is recoverable as long as your email address is correct in the system, because you can get a password reset link emailed to you.
So it is not entirely unreasonable to conclude that it is more important for the email address to be typed correctly than the password.
Mr Crosby (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MR Crosby (email@example.com)
Mr Crosby (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MR Crosby (email@example.com)
In real life, there will ALWAYS be people who manage to typo the same thing twice, there will always be mailservers who respond with "250 Recipient Ok" for bad emails, there will always be domains with MX records but without a mailserver.
The difference with each of these validations is who performs the validations, keeping the validation automated and between YOU and the destination mail server administrators is a much better choice IMO.
If there are MX records for the domain, but mail delivery to it fails, it should not try to deliver to the A-record.
If it's really that important, use it to check that it works.
Today I discovered I have an account on Roblox.com.
I'm going to guess that in both cases someone managed to enter not-their-email-address twice, correctly.
"Valid address" really means "the person who in fact gets mail at that address asked to get that mail."
Ouch, that sounds like a pain to deal with. But I will mention that MX records are not required, so don't forget about the opposite situation where they have a mailserver and no MX.
We have just today changed our site to use this https://github.com/Kicksend/mailcheck , It will be interesting to see how well it works.
"Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following code: ABC123"
Your registration process gets the email, you can deduce the person's name and email address without typos, and you can then reply with an activation link allowing a password to be set (that page could also allow verifying/editing their "real name").
This lets users register without typing anything except their password on the activation page.
A drawback of this is that it breaks the "flow" of your site by having the user switch over to their email app. But most sites send an "activation" email anyway, so I'm not sure it's a net negative.
Edit: you probably don't even need to ask them to copy/paste the code. The code could be embedded in the address (e.g. register+ABC123@example.com) or in the subject attribute of the mailto link) or you might not even need a "code" at all.
* enter password
* get confirmation email with link to signup
The activation comes _before_ the signup, as in your example, minus the email reply.
If you are outside, it's late, you maybe had a drink and it's even raining this can happen. You can also accidentally cause a submit while entering your email address.
Of course when you autofill forms that's not a problem, but thinking that people don't mistype, which can be hard to see, depending on the mistake you made is kinda stupid and there is nothing more annoying then realizing your favorite login name is used in unaccessible just because the person programming the system thought it was impossible to ever enter your email address incorrectly.
Sure this won't work for every SMTP server as some will just "OK" the mail first and send a bounce back later, but neither will the "ask for email twice" approach work every time, and at least it guarantees that the domain exists and has a functioning SMTP server.
To be more specific, the email is almost always used as the unique identifier of a user. Getting that information right is crucial to the perennity of your user base. Usernames and passwords can be and are often changed.
On a more general note, unsolicited advice is never well perceived when dealing in absolutes, especially when you are unaware of the context in which the website you're criticizing was designed.
Ancient mistypes of email addresses carried some mild risk.
User would mistype their email address, inadvertently entering a valid (but not their) email address.
The webmaster would send a confirmation email to that address. Stupid webmasters skipped the confirmation step and just sent to that address.
The person getting the email would report those emails as spam. Sometimes their reports would be effective and block email delivery for a while.
Someone ages ago had a nice website talking about this. They had a domain that often got email for other people from mistyped domain names.
Obviously allowing users to copy paste the email address is sub-optimal.
What's the better flow today? Send a confirmation email and allow the user to correct the address if they don't get the email?
Now, when they realize they didn't get the email, they may notice the difference and they can fix it.
If they're unable to type their email address, and they're unable to recognize a mistake in it, then I don't see what hope there is for them.
Yes there are people who don't know about copy/paste.
Have a read of the comments for a sample of just how much people hate this.
Have you measured whether this feature actually helps anything? As the author said, people can see typos. But people who don't know their own email addresses will happily repeat errors.
As an aside, they also post fairly detailed blog posts about some of the challenges of working at the kind of scale dA faces (http://dt.deviantart.com/blog/)
The designer of this form is the Kwisatz Haderach! He sees all of your potential futures laid out before him, almost as if they were lines on a whiteboard. To him you are not a person filling out a form, you are a quantum of potential revenue in a treacherous maze of possible outcomes. He is afraid, because he sees many many futures in which you simply cease to exist - your potential collapses to $0. There are a precious few paths where you survive this peril, and every single one begins with you typing in your email address correctly. A password can be recovered, but you can not.
It other words, this form is for quanta of potential revenue, not people. Don't forget the quanta pay the bills though.
Popular sites, that others copied, would drop your outbound email in their MTA, which was probably pretty busy, or on a not-so-fast computer. Might take five/ten minutes to arrive.
And prior to DKIM/SPF, a high proportion of emails would land in your junk box.
Nowadays, you can just ask for an email addy, and it hits the user's inbox in a few seconds, and you can take them to step B from there. But that was harder back then, so you had to ask for the email twice.
I like the "show password" option, instead of asking for it twice. You need to obfuscate it though for desktop computers, as you can't assume a private audience.
I wonder if this double entry would make them think twice? And probably these people don't know about CTRL-C/CTRL-V so they have to enter the address twice.
"At least"? That's pretty much all the client-side validation you can do. The next step is sending an email to it.
The specification of what kind of email address is valid or invalid is horrendously complex. I've seen too many sites reject perfectly valid email addresses. Don't do this. If it contains an @, try mailing to it. Let the user respond to that email somehow, and you've got the only reliable email validation and verification that's possible.
(x) email@example.com is my email address where I can confirm my account
[Create account button]
I don't want to confuse users with more checkboxes/displays than necessary. Interesting experiment? Yes probably, but I would need more data than I have now to get meaningful results.
While I've heard of this trend, I find it quite surprising.
Registration for almost any website/app/service needs a valid email address. And. although IM/Twitter/FB take care of informal communication [can you get a Twitter account without email?], there are plenty of cases where email still works better than the alternatives. How old are these younger people?
One thing that I find infuriating are sign up forms that include two password inputs alongside a sea of other fields.
What normally happens is that I have some validation issue upon submission, I forget to tick a box or something, the password fields are then cleared and I have to enter them both again. And so on.
In an off chance that the user mistypes the password when registering, there's an over-email password reset option. But if he manages to mistype the password and the email, then it's just the natural selection.
This is something I've noticed a lot in mobile apps. Because they know you hate typing on a touch keyboard they don't ask you to re-enter your password. It's bad practice in my opinion and it's something I've noticed in some major apps.
As for the copying n pasting just adding 'onpaste="return false;"' to the confirmation textbox would prevent on the majority of the browsers.
“Every time you require a human user to tell a computer things that it already knows or can deduce, you are making a human serve the machine“. Jesus, isn't this one pretty obvious? It's not a matter of ease of use, it's a matter of correctness of the user input. That's why is a freaking confirmation. This statement is completely out of place in the article, IMO.
I think we have become slightly conditioned to repeat passwords. It feels strangely "dangerous" whenever I sign up without repeating a password.
1) user form consist of
d) retype password
2) if all of the above is ok, and not already in use, allow user access to site
3) if running an e-commerce site, or something that depends massively on their e-mail address actually belonging to the user.
a) allow user to see e-mail they specified at login somewhere (my account)
b) make user retype e-mail at point of purchase
c) make user confirm e-mail before purchase, and change e-mail if no confirmation has been sent
(obviously a,b and c are either/or type statements)
alternatively, if older users are the problem... first 1/2 of Logans Run anyone?
Just to clarify since someone took up a example with no paste on password. We just have this function on the email-field.
It's a lazy naive "solution" that makes my life harder for no good reason. Take effort to implement good validation and recovery:
1. Use client-side validation (HTML5 field ideally) and look up the domain part. Offer "did you mean" suggestion for typos of very popular domains.
2. As long as user is signed in allow them to change e-mail post registration (e.g. "We've sent e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and haven't received confirmation. [Change e-mail address]")
Arguably even worse is TalkTalk's login form, which disables pasting into the password field. So I can't just copy my password there from a locket, I have to retype it. As a result I have chosen a stupidly easy-to-break password, just so I have a chance of typing it correctly, unlike the "gr2@tGig^monE"-stype passwords I otherwise use.
Edited my main commented due to a comment regarding password fields blocking CTRL+V
It seems like if I'm restricted by this right now (hell, I type my email in roughly 6-7 times a day, with 100% success!) what level of 'fixes' will I experience when I am inside?
Here's a discussion of disabling paste on passwords and usernames:
I like the idea of verifying the password, this is how password programs usually work.
One email field, when it loses focus (or you submit the form) a pop-up displays the email you entered and asks you if this is correct (Y/N). If you hit no then it focuses onto the email field for the user to make changes, and repeat.
The second field is just about forcing a user to be careful so why not make it a bit easier with a simple 'Yes' click instead?
What you want: User reads your dialog box notifying them to double-check their email address.
What actually happens: User maybe looks at your dialog box just long enough to figure out what it is before clicking whatever they think will make it go away. A tiny proportion of anal-retentive users who would have never gotten it wrong in the first place actually do what you asked them to do.
> Follow-up questions revealed that the students seemed to find any dialog box a distraction from their assigned task; nearly half said that all they cared about was getting rid of these dialogs. The results suggest that a familiarity with Windows dialogs have bred a degree of contempt and that users simply don't care what the boxes say anymore.
> It's not that users are morons or that they "forget" to think. Its that users are trained to not think... dialog boxes usually say "If you want to tech the tech, you need to tech the tech with the teching tech tech. Tech the tech? Yes / No" If you press one of those buttons, something happens. If you press the other one, nothing happens. Very few users want nothing to happen -- in the majority of cases, whatever happens is what the user wanted to happen. Only in rare cases does something bad happen.
> If you are trying to accomplish task A, and in the process of doing it, an unexpected dialog box B appears, you aren't going to stop and read and consider B carefully. You're going to try to find the quickest path to getting rid of dialog B. For most people, this means minimizing it or clicking "Cancel" or just plain ignoring it.
> This may sound a little harsh, but you'll see, when you do usability tests, that there are quite a few users who simply do not read words that you put on the screen. If you pop up an error box of any sort, they simply will not read it. This may be disconcerting to you as a programmer, because you imagine yourself as conducting a dialog with the user. Hey, user! You can't open that file, we don't support that file format! Still, experience shows that the more words you put on that dialog box, the fewer people will actually read it.
> What about making the warning harder to ignore? A subtle warning will get passed by, so let’s pull out all the stops: we’ll blink the screen and play a loud stretching noise to ensure that the user is paying attention. Try as we might, it still won’t work. The more in-your-face the warning is, the faster we’ll want to get away from it (by clicking “Okay”) and the more mistakes we’ll make. The thing is, no matter how fully in-your-face the computer presents the warning, we’ll still make the same mistake—clicking “Okay” when we don’t mean to.
> We all know that people don’t read dialog boxes, yet when there’s a problem with our UI, when people don’t understand what they’re supposed to do or when they do something wrong, we tend to try to solve the problem by adding more text to more dialog boxes.
My idea wasn't to invoke a dialogue pop-up but rather a visual light-boxed div pop-up in that tab, which wouldn't take control of the browser. They click no then they don't get to continue, yes next time they might just hit yes to proceed without reading. But as with duplicate field entry this is just about making an attempt to get accurate data from the user with the minimum of hassle.
In this specific case, I think it's still useless. You can't ask a user a question you just asked them and expect the answer to change. Even if the user looks at your dialog, they're usually going to interpret the question as asking "Are you an idiot?" and the answer is "No!" Even when it's "Yes."
It's analogous to the situation in tech support where the solution is something silly like "the battery is in backwards." Nearly no one will believe you thanks to the Dunning-Kreuger effect, so you have to ask them to open the battery cover and blow the dust out, hoping that they put it back in correctly (and yes, there are various reasons why they'll often be more careful than when they first made the mistake)
Someone else already mentioned the correct answer, which is finding an excuse to repeat their email address elsewhere in a context other than "Are you sure you said what you just said?" Imagine having an email address field near the top, then near the bottom of the form having a field labeled "password recovery email" with their already-typed email already filled in. Or maybe have a list of checkboxes saying "send the following types of communications to email address". And if they finish, have a confirmation page saying "Your activation email has been sent to address. If this is incorrect, click this link to fix it."
In thinking through this problem I was actually applying it to a real-world scenario I am dealing with right now; Shipping / email address entry for a checkout. Barrier to entry (to making a sale) has to be very low and easy enough to complete an impulse purchase quickly. (No user accounts or registration - just let me buy the damn thing already!)
In this scenario I figured having a pop-up upon submission would not usually be expected (i.e. this is not an account registration) and so would maybe surprise the user into reading it.
However, I definitely agree when confirmation boxes are situated in well-trodden interface routes, they are pointless and annoying.
Automatically verify everything you can. (billing ZIP matches credit card provider, email at least vaguely resembles an email address, all required fields are filled, etc). Raise a warning only if something is obviously wrong.
If the user hasn't yet chosen something like shipping options, consider making it a second step. Then you can have a pageflow along the lines of:
-User inputs basic information (name, address, email, financial details, everything necessary to know what they ordered and how they will pay for it)
-User is taken to a page where it asks for shipping options, with user's stated mailing address printed right next to the form. Have an obvious way to fix the address from this page.
-Print the user's email address near the mailing address for the same reason (if you feel the need to justify it, you can have a checkbox that says "send a receipt to email address" or "use email address for package tracking)
After an order is complete, take the user to a page that says "Your confirmation number is foo. Please save this page for your records. We will also send a receipt to email_address." The most visible thing on the page besides that message is their order, with the shipping address in bold. The next obvious is a link on this page they can click if something is wrong. Even if you never use the confirmation number for anything, it gives the customer an excuse to be observant without making them feel stupid.
Have a generous cancellation policy. If someone contacts you saying an order is wrong and you're positive which order they're talking about, let them cancel it. Worry about malicious cancellations only if they prove to be a real problem.
Right now an order number is displayed on completetion as you have described (and also emailed to them) so it's not fatal if the email address was wrong as they have a chance to note the order number down by other means. I do like the idea of telling them where the information has been emailed and giving them the option of re-sending it to a corrected address.
Most admins disable VRFY these days, and rightly so.