I’m sure it’s happened to you at some point, you visit a website that you registered with, maybe your company’s healthcare provider, but you’ve totally forgotten your username and password. If you’re anything like me, you have a few usernames you’ve used over the years and a few passwords you might have used, but which ones are they? A few minutes of trying and I usually give up and ask for my username and password to be e-mailed to me.
This scenario happens to me over and over again and I never seem to get used to it. Is there another way? Are usernames really the best method for registering users?
This type of user registration is a bad idea and unnecessary.
- Con: hassle to remember for users
- Con: must be unique, so registering with a site where your ‘usual’ username is taken becomes a problem
- Con: username nomenclature randomly varies from site to site, some allow spaces, some must contain a number, some must be 8 or more characters making it a problem to create a username that works for all sites
- Con: Unless you have an ‘online community’ usernames add an additional level of complexity to any system
So smarty pants, if it were up to you, how would users register on a website?
By e-mail address.
- Pro: totally individual
- Pro: already remembered
- Pro: serves as a way to verify registration
In essence we are all known by our e-mail addresses. Since everyone has one they serve as the perfect form of user verification.
So who is still using usernames in 2005?
- American Express
- Empire BlueCross BlueShield
- Commerce Bank
- Roxio (although they have added e-mail option)
- Network Solutions
Shame, shame, shame!
So who should use usernames?
In essence, only e-mail hosting companies should use usernames, because in essence they are creating an e-mail address with their username. You couldn’t really have Yahoo expect an e-mail address to create an e-mail address, that would be akin to which came first the chicken or the egg?