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Evernote's login form works like this:

When you go to their website, there is no login form. There only is a form for registering. If you enter your login credentials into that form, it won't log you in. You have to press the "Log in" just to be taken to the login form. You are then taken to a new page where you have to enter just your username. Not your password yet.

After entering your username, you have to press "Continue", just to be able to enter your password into the same (then extended) form:

After you did that, you finally can hit "Sign in".

As Evernote is pretty big in the business of note-taking cloud services, you'd expect them to have figured out basic stuff like how to provide a comfortable way to log in. Not one that feels like it takes hours to use, has pointless animations, and makes using password managers a pain in the ass.

What are the pros of this kind of UI design? Am I simply overlooking the good sides?

  • I don't know if it's the case with evernote, but there's also a benefit to separating username and password if there's an app authenticator in play. For example, if you have users that are app enrolled, you can send them a verification request once they've entered their username. Users who are not app enrolled will get a password input field in the next step instead. – Wanda Aug 14 '18 at 11:12
  • why is this voted for closing as primarily opinion based? There's nothing opinion based in the answer, I worked on the usability testing for this! – Devin Aug 14 '18 at 23:25
  • Worth mentioning in your answer @Devin? – Matt Obee Aug 16 '18 at 13:17
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The way they do it may sound convolute, but the reasoning is pretty sound: when you try to login to most services, you will usually have an username and a password field, right? If you have an error, most validation forms will tell users "there's an error. Somewhere. We don't care. Figure it out by yourself" Some forms will even clear all data and make users enter everything, even if username was correct.

The common solution for this is to do some validation "on the fly" using asynchronous requests. While this is great, problem is that users may see an error on fields they simply weren't fast enough to type or complete.

Evernote made a combination of both: they allow you to enter the username. Once the user clicks to continue (therefore, the user's intentions are unmistakable), the server performs asynchronous validation. If AND ONLY IF the user exists, then the system displays the password field. Otherwise, they tell the user that the information provided is incorrect. In this way, the user knows EXACTLY what information is incorrect. Keep in mind that this is not only intended for misspellings, but also for forgotten user names.

  • What's the benefit over simply specifying whether the username exists in the error message? – UTF-8 Aug 12 '18 at 6:54
  • you add more noise and cognitive load over a simple process. Evernote leaves you with one and only one option, it's bullet proof. – Devin Aug 14 '18 at 23:23

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