Is there an established best practice for input for a 2 word authentication code? A colleague feels that 2 fields, so one for each word, would reduce user error (thinking they might be confused as to whether to add a space or not).

I think it adds more work as well as potential confusion. All feedback appreciated, thanks!

  • 2
    Do you need it? – DarrylGodden Feb 1 '17 at 21:01
  • Why not just parse out the spaces and combine the 2 words? – Mark Feb 1 '17 at 21:03
  • 1
    Google captchas use a single input field, for what it’s worth. @Mark Users may enter no or an arbitrary word separator, e.g. a comma. – Crissov Feb 1 '17 at 21:38

If the authentication codes are of static length (I.e. 5 characters per word) then use one input box with an input mask that only accepts alphanumeric characters and automatically adds a space in the correct location. This way there is one space and one space only with no way for users to mess up the format.

If the words are of variable length I would use two input boxes to avoid the ambiguity that you mentioned and avoid errors.

However, overall I would be asking why you are using a two word phrase instead of one alpha numeric string or an authentication code at all. Avoid it unless 100% needed.

  • They would be variable length, stuff like "fluffy star" or "off meteor". But you're right, the better question is why two words at all? I assume it's because they wanted to keep them pronounceable, but not certain why, will investigate. Thanks! – datCodeTho Feb 2 '17 at 21:20
  • @datCodeTho I often say if the people implementing it ask "why do we need this" then the user certainly will – DasBeasto Feb 2 '17 at 21:22

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