3718RE: [agile-usability] Number of Password Fields to use
- Sep 28, 2007
My 2 cents: One field.
Here’s the possibilities with the two field system:
1. Password is correct
2. Password is incorrect – User is typing correctly but is thinking of the wrong password or does not know the password and is guessing (fields match but are wrong)
3. Password is incorrect – User makes a repeatable error due to a problem like caps lock being on (fields match but are wrong)
4. Password is incorrect – user knows password but makes a random typing error (fields don’t match)
You are adding the extra input step for everyone, but only offering the benefit in case 4. And here’s the kicker, you are doubling the chances of a case 4. If the fields are different you don’t know which one, only that they are different and maybe the error was added in the second one. If they don’t match I have to re-enter both again. So I’ve typed that password 4 times instead of twice (assuming it was a random typing problem that was fixed after the first negative feedback)
But here’s the biggest reason, who gets that benefit? Is it the user or the system. Are you making the user do more work so the system can sometimes do less?
Assumptions: the password fields obscure the values being entered and the credentials check is effectively instant.
I'm having an interesting discussion (read: argument!) here about the
number of password fields to use so I thought that I'd get some more
We have a feature where users can enter login credentials for systems
(for example a username and a password is entered for a server which
is stored on our system). I am saying that there should be 2 password
input fields to trap users mistyping the password, the other side of
the argument is that there should only be one. The user can then test
what they have done and see if it works (our system allows users to
test the credentials by trying to log into the target system).
I say that this is extra work and surely it's easier to make sure that
the user has entered the correct password by making them enter it twice.
Which side of the argument are you? Why?
Thanks in advance for your input!
Senior User Interface Engineer
Tideway Systems Ltd.
T: +44 (0)207 368 7326
F: +44 (0)207 352 4922
"What we've got here is failure to communicate."
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