Signing in to a website

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Don’t you just hate when you forget your password? Or worse yet, you forget both your password and your user id.

If you are desperate enough, you’ll be able to retrieve them. Plenty of sites make it easy to get them again (I lost my Offermatica password twice today and both times, got a new one within minutes. But that’s because they made it easy.)

The real problem for websites is when the user really does need to sign in (think online banking or looking at frequent flyer points online, for example) and can’t, because she forgot her information. So instead, she gets her customer service the old fashioned way, which is exactly what these companies are trying to get away from.

I’m not arguing for no passwords or everyone having “weak” passwords. But why can’t sites that require a password signin remind you of their format? If the user id is an email address, always, why don’t they tell you that? There is no security issue — anyone who wants can proceed to the signup screen to learn the format. If the password must be longer than 8 characters and include at least two non-alpha characters, why don’t they tell you that after your password fails, instead of just failing? We all have a “pool” of favorite passwords so that we don’t have to remember every word in the alphabet – if you tell me what the format is, I can probably narrow it down to three passwords and possibly succeed before I have tried too many times.

Robbin Steif
LunaMetrics

Our founder, Robbin Steif, started LunaMetrics in 2004. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Digital Analytics Association. Robbin is a winner of a BusinessWomen First award, as well as a Diamond Award for business leadership. In 2017, Robbin sold her company to HS2 Solutions and has since retired from LunaMetrics.

  • Timothy Seward

    Wholeheartly agree Robbin.

    About 2 weeks ago I had to create a password on a site which required at least one character which was not a-z, A-Z, or 0-9 *and* had to be at least 8 characters…and this was not a site requiring a credit card or a financial site of any type!!!

    Of course when I went back to login, there was no reminder of the password protocol *anywhere* in sight.

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