Usability Tip: Don’t clear unneccesary text fields

10 December, 2008 § Leave a comment

Read this short dialog and tell me if you notice anything that is unnecessarily annoying.

Website: Welcome to youremail.com. Please tell me your username and password so you can read your email.
You: My email address is jared@youremail.com and my password is 12354.
Website: Sorry, your email and password don’t match. Try again.
You: My email address is jared@youremail.com and my password is 12345.
Website: Thanks, here’s your email.

Was it really necessary to have to type in the email address again? Out of the two fields on the page, one of them was human readable and the other wasn’t. The password field is obfuscated and the user has no chance of checking to see what they typed is what they wanted to enter in the field.

Making software easy to use and a pleasure to use takes thinking about things like this. Next time that form loads, why not just leave the username field filled in so the user doesn’t need to type it again.

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