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What do you think to ask the email twice for registration?

The context is this: In the e-commerce checkout/registration process where the email is mandatory to save cart or to proceed to the checkout, it's better to ask just one time the email and the pass twice or it's better ask the email and password twice to be sure the user fill correctly all the fields.

In the first case the risk should be that users can might some mistake and fill the email form wrong, the second case the risk should be to abandon the registration/chechout because is frustrating.

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Welcome to UX.SE! Check out the faq and help center pages to learn how to get the most out of this community! Can you provide a little context to your question? Right now, it doesn't really seem like a UX question. –  norabora Jul 31 '13 at 16:12
    
@Diego, clarify what you want as an answer. There is a strong security reason for this (and this is not that place for that discussion). –  rk. Jul 31 '13 at 18:27
    
Asking the password twice makes sense to me because (a) it's usually hidden from view by bullets so a mistake wouldn't be easy to spot and (b) passwords are supposed to be complicated. I'm personally skeptical of the utility of entering your e-mail address twice (whenever I'm asked to do this I just copy-paste anyway). Also, xkcd.com/970 –  Bristol Aug 1 '13 at 13:01
    
Related: ux.stackexchange.com/q/21062/687 –  Danny Varod Jun 2 at 23:02

6 Answers 6

up vote 12 down vote accepted

The second time you are asked to enter your email you may notice it says "confirmation." That's all it is really, just confirmation that you are entering the correct email.

In some instances, asking for an email twice is crucial. Consider signing up for an email list for example. If the user makes a mistake and enters their email incorrectly, they may leave the website and never realize they entered the wrong email.

In a case where a mandatory email confirmation will be sent right after sign up, you can forego the confirmation and instead just provide a link to change the email address they entered if they don't receive the confirmation. In this scenario, you are appealing to the large majority of users (the ones that will enter their email correctly the first time) by providing less resistance to sign up. For the small majority that will make a mistake, you are allowing them to repair their mistake and have thus covered all of your bases.

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Great answer. E-mail confirmation is superior. Demanding two identical e-mail addresses does not ensure the correct address, though. Requiring interaction through the given e-mail address does. –  A.M. Aug 1 '13 at 3:24
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It's worth mentioning that this probably grew from password confirmation, where the input field masks the password to make it unreadable. In that case, it's worth having the user type their password twice because they can't read it and duplicating a typo is unlikely. With the email, you can read what you wrote, and automated confirmation by sending an email is extremely effective. Two email entry fields usually results in cut & paste from the first one. –  atk Nov 11 '13 at 16:09
    
I agree with @atk. Anytime I encounter a double email input, I copy & paste the first into the second. There may be options to disable copy & paste on newer browsers. You could probably partially block copy & paste with JavaScript as well, but I'm sure there are methods around it. Users are lazy. Something as complex, and long, as an email address is not something hunt & peck typers want to type twice. I type close to 70 WPM and I don't even want to type it twice. Can you imagine someone that takes a full minute to type out that email address, just to find out they have to type it again? –  crush Apr 25 at 15:45

The rationale is that someone (wisely) decided to ask users to confirm passwords because they cannot be seen as they are typed. Then, some eejit decided that if passwords should be entered twice, then so should email addresses, because they are important. Then some nincompoop decided that they would copy these eejits because there must be a good reason for them to do that, so let's do the same.

All these people are completely missing the point that passwords are hidden and can't be checked visually, where email addresses are visible, so then can be, and should be checked by the user.

Asking users to enter email addresses twice doesn't prevent some users entering the wrong address twice, and annoys those users with at least a few brain cells - it is essentially pointless.

If entering an email address twice was of any use to confirm it, why do sites which let you create an account, not ask for your username twice (after all, I need that to log in, just as much as the password), or physical delivery e-commerce sites not ask for your postal address twice, (so my expensive goods don't get delivered to the wrong person), etc.

I've seen people say that entering the email address twice is an 'anti-bot' technique, but that's total nonsense. If a bot can enter an email address once, it can just as easily enter it twice.

If the email address is that vital, then use email address confirmation, otherwise trust the user has entered their email address, checked it visually, and corrected it themselves if necessary. If they're not clever enough to do that, they're probably going to enter the wrong email address twice anyway.

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Usually emails are asked for twice to make sure the user enters them correctly.

However, depending on the severity of the consequences of failure to enter an email address the designer should decide whether or not to actually do this.

For many sites, just using one field is sufficient. A registration failure because of a bad email address would do no great harm, the user would quickly realise and re-register. Many people also have their email addresses stored in browser suggestions so don't even need to type them.

For e-commerce it is a little more serious, but there are other ways of tracing a transaction, from both sides. Services such as Paypal reduce the severity further.

For a high security application, such as online banking, it would be sensible, but it is unlikely a bank would allow online registration for their online banking services.

Generally, reducing the friction between user and goal, caused by extra form fields is a good idea.

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I agree with Tyler's answer, however, the problem still remains:

Requiring people to enter the same email twice in a form where the input fields are next to each other often mean that one will copy the value (CTRL+C) and paste it into the next field (CTRL+V). Thus, gaining no validation value.

An interesting idea, if email confirmation is crucial, is to separate the 'your email' and 'confirm email' fields visually. Say at the start and end of the registration process. The problem then is how to handle errors. What happens when a user enters the wrong email?

There seems to be no solid solution for this. Therefore, whenever you can, leaving out the 'repeat your email' procedure should not be implemented.

Please read this for more discussions about the subject: http://programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/157096/what-is-the-rationale-behind-entering-email-twice-for-registration

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I usually copypaste email in this case. Sometimes sites try to prohibit copying or pasting. It means that developers know the users will copypaste. Of course users are not happy with sites that disable them their copypaste keys.

My advice is: check email addresses hard and let a user to confirm. Make sure that submitted is actually email-like something. Maybe check domain name for existence. Or just check it against your top20 domains for email (gmail.com, yahoo.com whatever). Then show everything to a user saying: "This is your email address: MICKEY@MOUSE.COM. It is very essential for your registration. Confirm?".

Sometimes you can make user to input manually essential data for him to think carefully (Linux makes you type something like: yes I agree with what I am going to do in a very-very rare and serious case). But making user to type something twice is double-stupid (IMO). Human is to think, computer is to work, not the opposite.

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Please don't just check against the top 20 domains for email! You'll exclude so many valid email addresses (including mine), particularly when your code gets out of date because a new domain becomes widely used for emails - for example outlook.com. –  vincebowdren Jun 3 at 9:09

As I've said before requiring a user to enter his/her email address twice is a bad practice:

  • The user can still make a mistake and enter the same wrong email address twice, unintentionally

  • The user can intentionally enter the wrong email address twice

  • Asking the user to enter the email address twice seems (and is) redundant to users and therefore is annoying

Instead:

Ask for the email address once then send a confirmation email which the user has to open and either click the link or copy the (short) confirmation code into the registration form to proceed with the registration.

If only all sites uses this good practice instead of trusting the user, I would be getting a lot less emails that were meant for other Danny's :-/

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