38 responses to “Usability questions from a novice

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  33. @Jonathan thank you for your two cents. I would agree with your reasoning for signin v/s login, so that’s a new dimension to this question.

    Any instances of web applications which you can recall where the user had to enter multiple times i.e. signin?

    @Alok – Bang on. Perhaps we don’t really need a separate user-name and with that the possibility of forgetting a username is also discarded 🙂

    @Subin – For image verification esp. in case of Facebook, the behavior is quite strange. First, you’re prompted to enter image code during signup. Then each time you post a link in Facebook you’ve to pass through the image verification test. Any guesses on what exactly is the thought behind that? Why are you being a tested for image verification when u’ve already registered user on Facebook. Or does this have something to do with the quality of link?

    • How I see these two separate image verifications are for completely different purposes. Both serve as tool against the bot spamming. Though I would like to boast about the number of users; I’ll not like an automated program to keep hitting my application and creating N number of users and that’s what sign up image verification comes handy for. This way I keep more usersnames available for the actual users of my application.

      The image verification at the time of link submission serves two purposes and these are

      1) Reduce auto submission of the links from any cheeky user and save timeline (you can also call it the feed in Facebooks case) of friends to this user, a lot cleaner.

      2) It also prevent something called request overloading; essentially a technique by competeter to overload your application and make it unaccessible for your users.

      • Rajeev – Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

        Agreed, they’re preventing ‘request overloading’ by image verifications for links. But where is the user in all this?

        And if there is request overloading for links, it should be there for messages as well. What if I keep on posting messages it a fast rate, I believe they then mention that you’re going too fast. Perhaps a similar strategy could be adopted for ‘links’.

  34. 1. Login/Sign-in: I agree with @Alok here. When I try to login to a web application, I just look for a link which says that either ‘login’ or ‘sign-in’. Haven’t really given a thought why a application uses ‘login’ or ‘sign-in’. Though, I believe that it is important that this link should be on top right of the page as the users are used to this position. If, according to you, Youtube, Blogger and Flickr are applications which follow Web 2.0 philosophy then you will note that they use ‘sign-in’ as the name of the link.

    2. Username vs Email: There are pros and cons with both the approaches. Most users uses same username and email address for almost all the applications in which they have account. Moreover, username generally has less characters compared to the person’s email address due to which he will only have to type less to login. Therefore I prefer username to be used or the third approach where user will be logged in by providing either username or email with password.

    3. Forgot username: As I mentioned before, generally users usually use the same username for different site but use multiple passwords. In regarding to this, I like the approach taken by Google where it just shows a link Can’t access your account?

    4. Image verification: In my opinion, it is good to have if we are using image verfication only during registration. But if the signup form is shown on the homepage of the application like Facebook, showing the captcha would not be a good idea.

    All the above are my personal opinions and based on my experience. 🙂

    If we are talking about sign-in or sign-up process in this post, we also need to discuss whether we need to have ‘Remember me’ link in the login box.

  35. Daksh,

    Here are my thoughts:

    1.Login/Signin – does it really matter? the goal is for user to know what it is and I think people understand that with both

    2. Username v/s email – The number logins one creates is increasing everyday, it’s difficult to remember usernames unless you get the same one everywhere, so I believe in the use of email but also allow user to associate multiple email Ids with an account and then use any of them to login – goal is that it should be easy for user to remember

    3. Forgot Password/username – there are sites which do forgot username, but again why should that be required? just use email

    4. CAPTCHA – I think this is less relevant in account creation, but more in places where content can be published – for e.g. Craigslist. There is no doubt that it is an annoyance, so in my view it should not be used just because others use it, but observe the traffic and decide if it is a problem that Captcha is a solution for

  36. Hi there –

    My take on the difference between sign-in and log-in: sign-in may happen multiple times, a log-in should happen once. I might be asked to sign-in multiple times during a secure application flow, much like giving a signature multiple places in a contract agreement. Log-ins are a one-time verification of your identity to give access to an application.

    Regarding emails versus usernames: I think both forms of identity should be valid means of entry to an application. Too often I find myself frustrated trying to remember which of my emails I registered with, or the usernames I created. Take a look at the OpenID movement for a good example of creating a unified, usable log-in experience.

    These are great observations from a “usability novice” (your words on Twitter). Awesome stuff

    -Jonathan
    @jonathanhung on twitter

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