Please, just let me in

02.12.2014

The user experience of logging in to a website or mobile app.

Nowadays you need to login to almost every digital service you visit. Whether it be to check your bank account, buy a new Fitbit, or posting a #selfie on Instagram you need to access your personal profile which means you have to log in with the correct credentials for said service.

This can be a bit of a pain just due to the fact that you have so many different accounts and each one has different password security requirements—must be 8 characters with 1 uppercase character, 1 number and rhyme with hippopotamus. You know how frustrating it is trying to remember all of these different variations so don't you think designers and developers should be empathetic and make the logging in process as easy as possible? We think and do so for our clients.

How can you make the login process easier?

We don't want to sacrifice security, but there are some extremely simple things that can be done—or not done depending on how you look at it—to get users logged in and on their way.

Use clear, or really just accurate, labels.

If your site/app uses the user's email address as the main unique identification method, then label that field "Email address" not "username" in the login form. If you ask users to pick a username when registering then label the field "username" not "User ID" (but allow them to also use their email address as well in this field since it's pretty standard these days). There's nothing more frustrating than having to reset your password, or getting locked out of your account because you were trying to login using a username when really they want your email address.

A prime example is the SCE.com account login form. This drives me batty because I only log in once a month to pay my electric bill and I have to use the reset password function every single time no matter how hard I try to remember that they really mean email address and not "User ID".

sce and their poor login form

Use tooltips or some kind of supporting help text. Again, accuracy is key.

If you have specific password requirements then kindly remind your users right there on the form next to or below the password field. "Hey buddy, remember that we required you to create a password that is at least 2 sentences long". I'm sure I'm going to hear it from developers and security specialist on this, so let me have it ;). If you want to go even a step further, take notes from Google—if a user enters an incorrect password, Google reminds the user when the last time they changed their password. Even this tiny nudge can be enough to jog a user's memory.

google knows login ux

Make sure your user is happy after they get logged into your app. If they're frustrated before they even get in, then the rest of your user experience, sales, and brand image will suffer.

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category : Design