User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am maintaining the server implementation of a website. The site allows usernames and email address as username.

This is how the login screen looks where the user is asked to select if the user is typing in a username or an email address.

enter image description here

I think this is useless as I can very easily determine (javascript or java code on server)if the user is typing in an email address.

One train of thought makes this login appear alright.

Another makes it appear silly.

What would be the best way to implement a login screen where the user could either select a username or an email address ?

share|improve this question
Not asked, but whatever you do make sure you can always log in with a username. This to avoid confusion where your 'user name' is "" and your current working email address is "". Some sites fail this causing quite some confusion for people who do not write everything down. – Hennes Dec 20 '13 at 5:33
@Hennes ...which also means that it's necessary to be able to change the username, and users need to be identified internally by some other key (like a number). ["If you use an email address to create your account, we will always use it to contact you. You can change the address associated with your account at any time."] – Andrew Leach Dec 20 '13 at 6:28
up vote 12 down vote accepted

The goal is to make login as simple as possible for the user. Simply have two fields - one that allows them to enter either their username OR email address (labeled accordingly) and the other field for their password.

Simple login

share|improve this answer

There is no way to distinguish user name from email if I can enter user name identical to the email.

Then there are sites forbidding me from entering my email as user name by forbidding characters e.g. such as "@".

These sites are evil because they force me to invent a user name that is not taken and that I can remember as if password is not enough. At least I can take a nice password without worry it was taken. Then if I forget my username, I need to recover it too like password?

The less evil sites at least let me enter my Email as username. At least this is the one I can remember.

In my view, Usernames must die!

The best thing you can do for your users is to let them sign with Email only. Simple and clean.

There is too much mess from Usernames with no clear advantage over Email - here is my more detailed answer on the subject

share|improve this answer
Heh. I got the opposite idea. email as username must die. Especially on sites which accept the username the first time, and the next time complain that it is not valid (e.g. vmware and hennes+vmware@....), thus forcing you to create a new account every time you need to log in. – Hennes Dec 20 '13 at 17:42
@Hennes Have you checked my link where I listed many arguments? Please list your arguments and I will be happy to discuss. – Dmitri Zaitsev Dec 21 '13 at 1:33
Really both should be supported, because there are perfectly valid reasons for users to prefer either one. – Nick Coad Jun 11 '15 at 23:09
@gnack Would love to know those perfectly valid reasons – Dmitri Zaitsev Jun 16 '15 at 5:36
@DmitriZaitsev plenty of people (including myself) prefer the brevity afforded by typing a short username instead of an email address. – Nick Coad Jun 17 '15 at 0:52

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.