Home » Why should we ask the password twice during registration?

Why should we ask the password twice during registration?

Solutons:


We should not ask for password twice – we should ask for it once and make sure that the ‘forgot password‘ system works seamlessly and flawlessly

Like Roger says, ideally you can reset your password easily and securely, but there are certain times that’s not an option.

If you’re not validating email addresses it’s more important that their login credentials are correct; if they lose their password it might be game over if they entered fake email information.

Assuming you have to have a password and you care that it’s correct, which seems to be the basis of your question, you have two options:

  1. Don’t mask and only ask once. This works great on personal PCs as masking has negative effects as you pointed out. Since PCs are largely personal this can be okay for many uses where privacy isn’t a large concern.
  2. Mask, but use a confirmation. This is made necessary because of the potential for typos. For a secure login, the overhead of one field is easily outweighed by addressing the edge-case situations of over-the-shoulder reading.

Trust is an issue if you’re not masking. In creating a prototype for an HCI course my team actually used this one password field, no masking approach (without thinking; we just didn’t know how to mask passwords in the program). Two of our users (out of 10) were concerned that their passwords did not mask as they entered them. Just the act of seeing your own, unmasked password can be sort of jarring; we’re all used to seeing it as a set of filled dots, after all.

Password masking is a convention and a certain amount of people are going to freak out if they don’t see it, even if the security benefits aren’t real, they are assumed. Definitely keep masking for any sort of secure site or when trust is an issue. I would need some good hard data before I’m comfortable with a no-masking approach on any sign up.

I like the way Microsoft handles this in Windows 8. There is a single password field, and a button that displays the password while it is held down. That way, the user can check for typos. If the user enters their password with great confidence, then there is no need to enter it twice or look at it, but people who want to see if they typed it correctly can, and still don’t have to type it twice. Because the button acts like a physical normally open switch, it masks the password on release helps keep the unmasked password from prying eyes.

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