Who hasn’t been filled with frustration after creating a password for a new account, only to receive an error message your password isn’t acceptable?
Whether it’s a missing capital letter, number, or special character, or maybe your password isn’t long enough, a password error message is like having the door slammed in your face.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve received an error message that my password didn’t
- Contain enough characters, with no indication of how many characters were needed
- Include a number or capital letter
- Have the “correct” special character, when I used an asterisk instead of parenthesis
It doesn’t have to be that way.
The designer can improve the user experience.
By displaying the requirements before the password is entered, along with two other features, users can have an easier time creating a password.
What I don’t understand, is that we’ve been entering passwords online for over 20 years.
Why isn’t the password creation process simpler?
Which is why I was glad to experience how Oxford University Press manages password creation on their new accounts.
And why I’m giving them a shoutout as my UX Win for the month.
What I Like About Oxford University Press Password Creation
Creating a password shouldn’t be a guessing game for users.
They shouldn’t have to enter a password only to receive an error message that it didn’t fit the format, wasn’t secure enough, or didn’t contain enough characters.
And after replacing their password with a new password based on the error message, only to receive another error message that their password is still missing some requirement.
As Katie Sherwin from Nielsen Norman Group explains, there are three key features designers can use to make password creation easier for users:
- Display password requirements upfront, so the user can view requirements before entering their password
- Allow the user to unmask the password, so they can check what they’ve entered
- Provide a strength meter to indicate how strong the password is
Which is exactly what Oxford University Press provides in their online registration form:
- The user has the ability to display the password by enabling the “show password” checkbox
- Passwords must include one letter, one capital letter, at least one number, and be at least 8 characters or more long
- A bar underneath the password form field displays the strength of the password
Don’t Waste Users Time
What stands out for me in the Oxford University Press password creation process: their designers thought about the user experience.
They provided password information upfront and made it easy to discover.
The designers didn’t waste users’ time with frustrating error messages about password creation.
Creating an account password should be easy and quick, given designers consider the user experience and provide the three crucial features for password creation.
Thank you, Oxford University Press for keeping users top of mind in your password creation process.