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I'm working on this login page:

It has three "phrases" with more than 1 word, namely:

  • Log in to your account
  • Forgot your password?
  • Create a new account.

I have minimalist tendencies and would change it to:

  • Log in
  • Forgot password?
  • Create account

Is terser better?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The page has the word Login as a title, so I'm unsure about why it needs any further descriptive label.

As for the remaining two items, I'd go with the shorter versions. They're just simpler to read, and it seems safe to expect that people will understand whose password and account the Forgot Password and Create Account features refer to.

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I would go with: "forgot your password" -> "forgotten?". Make sure its grouped right next to the password field so its context is obvious

I would also eliminate the text labels "username" and "password" and have them defined IN the text fields (similar to some search boxes).

If you are truly looking to go minimalistic I would recommend that you incorporate the new account sign up page on the same page.

Take a look at twitter.com main page,
A wonderful example of a minimalistic and intuitive design: (make sure you are logged out first to see their sign in / sign up page)

Finally able to post the image (Rep was too low as a new user) a good picture is worth a thousand words:
Note for the 'New to Twitter' signup is only 3 fields, no text labels, sign up instead of submit. I could go on and on :).
Twitter.com sign in page

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I'd go with the longer phrases, seeing as available space isn't an issue with your page's layout. Only when space poses an issue or you want them out of focus would I say to go with the shorter ones. Seeing as the page focuses on the user, it's fine as is.

Though, I will agree with Todd on one thing the title + description is redundant. I would either move "Log in" over to the right replacing the description (using a verb form here is better), or use the description as your title.

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I would drop "Log in to your account" all together. It seems unnecessary. Most everyone should recognize a login page.

Also, I don't think there is any downside to the shorter phrasings you've provided.

All that said, make sure to consider your users. How old are they? What systems and ui patterns are they already used to?

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Assuming that your userbase is reasonably web-savvy, I would go with shorter phrases. And removing the Login title. The shorter versions are quite clear enough to anyone who has used web sites, but I would agree that looking at the entire layout, and seeing whether you can move the forgotten and sign up buttons nearer the relevant areas.

I would also say that if your users are not web-savvy, or there are other reasons why they may not recognise the shorter versions, you should probably provide longer descriptions:

"If you have forgotten your password, click on to get a reminder" - or similar.

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