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CHI-WEB  April 2001, Week 4

CHI-WEB April 2001, Week 4

Subject:

Retype to verify - summary

From:

Kayla Block <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Kayla Block <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 24 Apr 2001 08:49:46 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (127 lines)

So far, every reply on this thread has matched my opinion that retyping an
email address to verify it is not effective for reducing errors and is
nothing other than a user annoyance.
Some of the replies included observations during usability testing that
also matched what I suspected: users either copy/paste or control-drag to
fill in the field the second time. If they do retype, errors are actually
likely to increase in the second text-entry box because of the extra
opportunity for errors.

I encountered pushback on this issue at a previous company from the tech
support team. They worried that if a user doesn't get their email because
of a typo, they might not remember which web site to come back to in order
to fix it. I ended up letting it drop there because I really had more
substantial usability issues to attend to in that product. But I'm now
coming across the same issue with a new client and I've removed the email
confirmation box. I'm not sure whether I will get pushback. So it's good to
have everyone's thoughts on it and some of the ideas in the summary show
some alternative ways to verify the address that might make my client more
comfortable.


Specific comments that have substantial additional thoughts in them follow.
I'm not including every reply back because most of them resoundingly said
the same thing:

From: Marijke Rijsberman <[log in to unmask]>
One of the most annoying experiences I've had in a long time
on the web was on the online ticket ordering system for
Cal Performances at Berkeley. Not only did they ask me to
retype my email address, but they also asked me to retype
my phone number and something else, I don't remember what.
(Of course, in my annoyance, I typed everything once and then
copied and pasted the first entry into the second field of
the pair, just to make a point.)

My guess is that errors are just as likely to crop up in the
second instance of the pair and therefore the technique is
likely to lead to a 100% increase in "misfires" of one sort
or another. Giving people more opportunity to make errors
and pissing them off at the same time strikes me as really
bad policy. Why not show folks what they entered and ask them
whether it's correct?

Besides, do we know how many of those incorrectly entered
email addresses are intentionally incorrect? It's certainly
standard procedure in my part of the world to provide bogus
email addresses for anything you don't really want to hear
about again.

===============

From: Sam Feinstein Feit <[log in to unmask]>
I believe a savvy user is likely to copy and paste
(or Crtl-drag) their eddress for the 2nd instance
(rather than
 > put their email address in twice).
And _duplication_ is not a confirmation of accuracy anyway.

Simple JavaScript validation is easy enough to bypass ([log in to unmask]),
so I believe receipt confirmation (i.e. informing users their registration
is complete
only upon replying to a personalised URL via e-mail) is the most
persuasive way to assure users either

a) check their input, or
b) don't bother dropping junk into our databases.

Sam

==============

From: Anders Dinsen <[log in to unmask]>

I would:

A)
If the address is not very critical (as to a postcard service), I would
suggest a technical solution instead of the doubled entry:

1. Check the syntax of the address. This is documented in RFC822. This will
probably catch most errors.

2. Resolve the domain name part of the address. If it is not valid, tell the
user. This will normally take from 0 to about 10 seconds. It may take longer
in some cases, so you should probably take measures to ensure that the user
does not think that you have crashed.

Optionally, you can try to connect to the SMTP server and do the first steps
of delivering an e-mail. This will in many cased also verify the user name
part of the address., but may take even longer.


B)
If it is critical that the address is correct (e.g. if it is the only way for
you to contact the user and the service you provide is critical for him),
then send him a message after signup, asking him to confirm the sign up. Do
not complete the sign up until after the confirmation is received.

This will also protect against abuse, and is done by many mailing lists.

You should of course still do the above checks.

--
Anders Dinsen
Usability specialist, VPN products, Eicon Networks, Denmark
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Phone: +45 4436 6344
Web: http://www.safepipe.com/

=============================










  The next time you feel like complaining, remember: Your garbage disposal
probably eats better than thirty percent of the people in this world.

   ---------------------------------------------------------
   About CHI-WEB: http://www.acm.org/sigchi/web/chi-web.html
   ---------------------------------------------------------

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