A “Username or Email” Field Decreases Login Lock Outs

by on 02/09/12 at 3:43 pm

Forgetting your username is like forgetting your keys and getting locked out. It’s a frustrating experience, but a flexible username field can make it easier.

Emails Are Easier to Remember

Allowing users to log in with their “username or email” is like giving them a spare key. If they forget one, they can use the other to log in. It’s easier for users to remember their email than username. This is because users check their email is regularly and type it often.

It’s a mistake for sites to not allow users to log in with their email. Users need to do a lot of work if they forget their username. They have to create a new account because usernames aren’t recoverable like passwords. This means going through the sign up form all over again.

Users who forget their username will populate your database with dead accounts. This can take up an unnecessary amount storage space if you have a lot of users.

Usernames Are Used Across Sites

If your login has an email only field you can benefit as well. Allowing users to log in with a username would help users who forget which email they used to sign up.

Users have many email addresses and can’t always remember which ones they used for which sites. But they’re more likely to use the same username across different sites. In this context, usernames are easier to remember. Giving users the option to log in with username or email will decrease login lock outs for all.

Allow for Both

Getting locked out of anything isn’t pleasant. You can prevent that from happening by using a “username or email” field on your login form. You’ll always have users who forget their login information. But you can make logging in easy by giving them two keys instead of one.


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8 Responses to “A “Username or Email” Field Decreases Login Lock Outs”

  1. Dave

    Feb 9th, 2012

    One other thing, if I fill in my email address and click “Forgot”, please don’t ask me to retype my email address!

  2. CPOThemes

    Feb 15th, 2012

    Definitely a more flexible system that would allow users to remember their login credentials way more often– but it may also pose higher security risks, since you’re essentially giving users the ability to input more data fields.

    Any thoughts on this, Anthony?

    • anthony

      Feb 21st, 2012

      It’s more of a convenience for users than a security risk. Weak passwords are the number one security risk for logins, whether you’re asking users for their username and email or not.

  3. Jeff

    Feb 16th, 2012

    So what kind of input type do you go with, it’d have to be “text”, but it’d be nice to swap that with “email” for mobile users… as per: http://uxmovement.com/forms/input-types-give-users-the-right-keyboard-on-mobile-forms/

  4. Tim from IntuitionHQ

    Feb 19th, 2012

    A flexible identification field that allow users to enter either their email address or username to log in is very user friendly. It does definitely help to make your site more usable for most users. Especially since I know myself how easy it is to get lost of all your different accounts.

  5. David Padilla

    Mar 1st, 2012

    Another emerging trend for simplifying form fields is to clarify password fields. Meaning, when a user is typing their password, the field will not switch the characters into ‘asterisks.’ Example, for those of you who have an iPhone, when you’re typing your password, the characters you type will display for about 0.5 seconds before switching to an asterisk. This makes it very easy to see what characters you are typing, thus reducing the chance of entering the wrong password.

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