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In my website I put password recovery option hidden. I know there are two options to deal with it.

  1. Classical way, Show it as the next sentence to the register link. Example, "Want to try? Sign up for it. If you forget password, try reset it". Here Sign up and reset is linked to registration and password reset page respectively.

    enter image description here

  2. Show User only the register link. If any existing gives a wrong password show the reset option. Example, On the login page, "Want to try? Sign up for it.". If user submits a wrong password, "Password does not match. You can always reset it if you forget"

    No password reset option in login page.
    enter image description here

    Password reset option is shown only after user has submitted a wrong password.
    enter image description here

Now what is the most user friendly way to deal with forgot password? Do you know any other better way?

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I don't understand 'register link' and 'gives a wrong password'. Is it on the same page or is there a page in between? Where does the user enter his password? –  greenforest Mar 29 '12 at 9:58
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@user12999 I have added some images to give you some idea. Hover the images to read the caption –  Shiplu Mar 29 '12 at 10:15

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

To me, the first option is the right one. Why would you require the user to fail in the first place to enable him to reset the password?

Reasons why you might want to show the password reset link always next to the password input field:

  • when asked to enter the password, this is the place where users figure out they actually forgot the password
  • if this question comes up 'What was my password for this site?' the answer is right there if you have a link 'Forgot your password'?
  • visual noise added by showing this link in the interface can be kept small if the typeface is small
  • it's a very common pattern across the web (not always a good reason to apply the same pattern, but here you can assume users are used to it and also might expect it this way)

When designing the password reset flow I pay attention to the following steps as well, e.g.

  • if the user already entered his email/username and then figures out he forgot the password and clicks the reset link, don't make him enter the email/username again
  • if the user mistyped the password twice, highlight the reset link to make it more obvious, as it's more likely now they will need this link now (and probably change the copy to 'Forgot you password? [Get a link by [email to reset your password]')

Really convenient from a user perspective is if you enable them to use login credentials they already have (Facebook, Twitter, Google, OpenID etc). I'd not suggest to make this the only option available but in addition to a login on your site users will appreciate it.

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I would add that moving the "forgot password" link up so that it's directly below the password field might help even more, because the two related things would be tied visually. –  Ben Durnell Mar 30 '12 at 4:40

Let me answer that question based purely on my own experience.

  1. When creating an account, I fill in some password that I think I can remember well.
  2. I log in, and tick the "remember me" option.
  3. During the next days, weeks, month I can login without ever having to enter my username or password.
  4. At some point in time, for whatever dark reason, the website forgot my login. This means frustration. Trying several passwords, then starting to doubt whether the user name is correct... Most of the time, I instantly look for the "reset password" option. If I don't find this, the frustration increases.

If I am representative for a large number of user I would therefor say that option 1 is clearly the best. It is clearly visible that I can immediately reset my password. I would like to stress that resetting a password is not something exceptional. It happens all the time. Too bad I have no study or reference to use as evidence.

Apart from this, I would also suggest that you look at alternative ways of logging in. Such as using Google userid, facebook id,... there are many other topics about this in ux.stackexchange.

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+1 for suggesting OpenID –  Shiplu Mar 29 '12 at 15:22

I suggest go with option 1 but then put the forgot password link in a more central place / highlight it when the user fails to log-in.

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