Interesting discussion internally at this end re a sign-up/login mechanic that will be running within a public kiosk/display application.
The question we have is related to whether or not we should attempt to obfuscate the entry field where users enter their email address. There are some concerns that because the user will be interfacing with the application in a public space that:
- Open display of an email address might lead to 'snooping' with other members of the public looking over the shoulder of the user, gaining access to the exposed an email address
- Users might be hesitant to enter their email address because of the above
Current train of thought would be to obfuscate the email address as the user enters it - ie showing on ly the character just entered, swapping it out for an appropriate * character as the user moves through the different key-presses of entering their address. This does however present problems with accuracy as in doing so potentially increases the possibility that users will make mistakes/typos in their address. This is turn then makes the correction/validation process more difficult because for the reasons listed above we don't want to display the entire email in clear text.
Therefore, I'm looking to seek some thoughts and opinions from the wider UX community on this. Is this a case of over thinking the situation, or are we correct to have these concerns and look to address these in the experience design of the application.
To add further complexity to the situation, the 'kiosks' are actually touch-screen TVs ranging in size for 32" to 80", so a hard-ware related solution such as privacy screens is unlikely to be un-workable.