The email address is one of the most corrected form fields. It’s easy to mistype because the input contains a long string of various characters. This can lead to users submitting an incorrect email address. Is the solution to make users retype their email like the password confirmation field?
The Email Confirmation Problem
Designers believe they can prevent this by adding an email confirmation field. This may prevent some incorrect submissions, but not all, and at a cost.
Many users tend to copy and paste their email field input into the confirmation field. This defeats the purpose of the confirmation field because users can end up pasting an incorrect email. The confirmation field does nothing to prevent them from mistyping their email.
One research study discovered that “60% of the test subjects consistently copy/pasted their e-mail when they retyped it in a confirmation field”. Users copy and paste their email often because retyping it is too much work. The users also didn’t believe that they would mistype their email but were surprised when they did.
The email confirmation field does not solve the incorrect submission problem. Not only that, but it forces users to do more work than they’d rather do. Users can end up making typing errors in both fields. This will cause them to spend more time correcting their input which can frustrate them.
Redesigning the Email Field
If you want to increase correct email submissions, you need to redesign your email field. You’ll need to change your email field’s placement, sizing and labeling.
Place the Email Field First
Filling out forms is a mundane task. Users tend to rush through them because they want to move on to their next task. But when users rush they’re more likely to make typing errors.
Placing the email field first can prevent this. This is because it’s the start of the form and they don’t feel the need to rush. Placing the email field in the middle or at the end of your form is not ideal because that’s when users get tired of typing and are most eager to finish.
Increase the Size of the Field Input
The email field is the most mistyped field on sign up forms. One study illustrates this in their data table at the bottom. It’s important to increase the size of the email field to help users notice their typing errors.
Many forms use too small of a font size for their email field input. If users make a typing error, it’s harder to notice. When the font size of your field input is larger, users are able to identify specific characters easier. This will help them spot typing errors at a glance when they check their input.
You can make your email field larger than the others but that may give your fields inconsistent styling. Instead, you should make the email field expand when the user selects it. The font size of the input should also appear larger. When the user unselects the email field it should return to its normal size.
Here’s an example of what this looks like.
Emphasize Input Accuracy in the Field Label
Most designers label their email field “Email”. While this is short and straightforward, it doesn’t emphasize the importance of input accuracy. If you want users to double check their input, your field label should stress that.
A field label such as “Email (make sure it’s correct)” reminds users to check their input after they type it. This is important to emphasize because most users don’t believe they’ll mistype their email, so they don’t bother checking their input.
All You Need Is Clarity
Not all form data have the same level of complexity. The email field deserves special treatment because its input is more complex than other fields. It contains alphanumeric characters and symbols that make it easier to mistype.
It’s time to take a new approach on how you design the email field. The solution is not another field to fill out, but to give clarity to the existing field. Prominent placement, larger input size and a specific label are what you need. Make this change and kill the email confirmation field once and for all.