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8 tips to create a better login process

8 tips to create a better login process

Posted on 11 July 2017 by Jason

Most of us will login to something today. Your computer. Your email account. Your phone. It’s amazing then, that even with so many logins needed to seemingly survive, there are so many processes and systems that result in a less than enjoyable user experience.

We've put together 8 tips for creating a better login process that, if actioned, would enhance the user experience for everyone.

 

1. Let users see their password (if they want to)

Everyone hates that dreaded ‘incorrect email or password combination has been entered' message. By allowing users to see their password, you’ll at least provide them with the chance to spot any typos before they press login. It doesn’t help those who get their password completely wrong however. They’ll still be stumped. 

Amazon showing the option to show your password

Amazon offer an option to show the password you've typed

 

2. Make it obvious where to login

Where possible, it’s always better to present a login form on the page, rather than behind a ‘Login’ link. Allowing users to directly enter their details without having to visit a separate page will likely increase usage. Of course, some clients, companies or organisations treat logging in or having an account as a secondary action, but take Facebook as an example - logging in is paramount, hence they display the form up front.

Facebook login form displayed on the page

Facebook show their login form clearly on the page

 

3. Don’t make the user guess

The conventional approach is to use an email and a password as the login credentials. When a site breaks the norm, it’s important to  explain clearly the details needed. “Customer number” is a common one. The problem is, not many people are going to remember this. If this is the desired username option, then  it should be made it clear where the user would find this information. For example, 'this can be found at the top right of your latest bill'. 

Twitter offers multiple username options

Twitter provides more than one 'username' option to log in with.

 

4. Let users know about their CAPS LOCK state

In a similar ilk to the ‘show password’ entry mentioned earlier, because the password input is typically hidden from the user, they are unable to see what they are entering. A simple message informing them that caps is turned on could save them a lot of effort. 

Windows shows users when Caps Lock is on

Windows have displayed a caps message for quite a while

 

5. Make a password reset easy

People will forget their passwords. It’s inevitable. By providing a clear ‘Forgot your password’ link, the user is able to reset their information, usually via a simple visit to a page on the website in question. However, it’s important to do this securely. Some sites simply get the user to enter a new password on a new page, which is vulnerable to all kinds of hacks and attacks.

Skype Login form

Skype provide clear links to reset your username and password 

 

6. Keep it simple

The biggie. If a login form doesn’t work as the user expects, it’s likely they’ll not be able to login at all. This is big news for e-commerce companies. If a user doesn’t have the ability to access their account, they’ll grow frustrated and simply use an alternative. Tips for making the process simple can include:

  • Making the login call to action easy to find, wherever the user happens to be. The top right of the website is usually the most common location for this
  • If the username is an email input, switch the user’s keyboard to the optimised email layout. Featuring an @ symbol will save a significant amount of pain over a users’ lifetime
  • Allow links for ‘Forgot username’ and ‘Forgot password’ to be used, and placed near to their respective fields

The iPhone changes layout if the input is set to email

Smartphones adapt their keyboard based on the type of input field - if it's been specified by the website.

 

7. Allow users to login with their social credentials

It’s generally becoming commonplace to feature a social sign in option when logging in or registering to a site. The advantages of giving the user this option include:

  • Users have one less login to remember - they aren’t creating another email and password combination, thus making login easier
  • They provide familiarity - If you happen to be a lesser known brand, providing Facebook and Twitter logos can provide some reassurance and familiarity to the user
  • Gain greater user data - Users social profiles are likely to be populated with more information about your customers. Enhanced demographic data can improve your segmentation, personalisation and targeting efforts.
  • Greater personalised browsing - With the increased data, it allows for a more personal experience to be delivered

There are downsides too. The data that is on social networks is not guaranteed to be accurate, and the data is in the hands of the third party, but generally, the ease for the user is increased by providing the links.

Fancy prioritise social logins over their own. It's buried at the bottom of the screen.

Fancy prioritise social logins over their own...which is buried at the bottom of the screen.

 

8. Keep users logged in

I use bitbucket on a regular basis, but it has the inherent ability to keep getting me to log in. Long gone are the days where a household had one shared computer, or you had to go to an internet cafe to get online. With many people owning one, if not several of their own personal devices, it only makes sense to keep the user logged in. There are exceptions though - most notably banking and private information that benefit from an automatic logout feature.

My vmware login screen and process

The myvmware login uses many features mentioned in this blog entry

 

Summary

It's really not that complicated to enhance the user experience when it comes to signing into a service. By improving the offering to the end user, you'll more than likely increase engagment, activity and as a result - revenue, so it seems logical to invest time into getting it right.

It's worth mentioning fingerprint readers too. Signing into devices and applications has never been so easy. It's not default behaviour on the web yet, but when the transition happens, hopefully the login process hated by so many will fade out and become far easier for everyone.

Thanks for reading.

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