… Or maybe they’re doing web-site registration completely right

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that DeviantArt are getting web-site registration completely wrong by asking for the email address (which you can see as you type it) to be repeated, but not requiring confirmation of the password (which you can’t see).


A lot of people in the comments (both here and at Hacker News) pointed out that I was wrong.

The DeviantArt people have evidently thought this through, and realised that a mistyped password (like a forgotten one) can be recovered so long as the email address is good. So it makes sense that the email address is more in need of confirmation than the password.

The question is, why did I assume their design was stupid?

Surely it can’t be just because every other site does it differently?

I fear it really is that simple. I’m a fashion victim. And it’s worse than that: not only did I assume the DeviantArt design is wrong without thinking it through, I have personally implemented the single-username double-password registration pattern in at least three different code-bases, again just following what everyone else was doing.


I find that disturbing. I wonder how many other bad design decisions I’ve been following unthinkingly?

One response to “… Or maybe they’re doing web-site registration completely right

  1. To be fair to you, I still think that design is stupid.

    If a correct email is critical to your registration process, the only way to ensure that is to include an email confirmation step (this is the typical email message with a confirmation link we’ve all encountered before). Anything less will still leave you with invalid addresses.

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