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I have an issue, I want users to be able to sign up to our platform. However, as they are students...

  1. They don't have an email address or use them
  2. Majority have telephone or social media

Our problem is we are offering a package to schools. IF 90% of the class can sign up, we need a solution still for 10% who may not have ANY way to verify themselves.

I did think just username/password - but what happens if they forget both?

  • To clarify, that 10% has no social account or email? Are these adults? – Prestosaurus Jul 1 at 16:09
  • What are their age ranges? – Nicolas Hung Jul 1 at 17:59
  • To add to Prestosaurus's question, do they even have smart phone or access to internet? How are they going to access your services? Is there a possibility that the target users include teaching staff and parents? – Ren Jul 2 at 8:33
  • What about a smart student ID card which can be swiped to login and access the services? – Ren Jul 2 at 10:33
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If your users are too young to have email addresses, be careful about collecting any information such as phone numbers from them. Due to child protection laws like COPPA/GDPR, I would recommend verifying the legal requirements with a lawyer before making any decisions.

To your point about having a username without an email backup, this is often why apps targeting schools have student accounts tied to the teacher or parent. The student should not be able to sign up without entering corresponding classroom code, parent code, etc. Then the student accounts can be managed by an adult.

  • They are not too young to have email addresses, but they are too young to want to have an email address. All sign up happens via the school (manually) at the moment. However, we would like to look at how we can automate some of the process. – Claire Jul 2 at 10:22
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In order to fill the gap, I think the best way is to use a face recognition application tool, this is one of the safer options, can be used even from smart devices to access sensitive data, personal files for the students. And also you can apply it easily to specific places to allow or stop strangers from entering some private locations.

Use the student's image to be attached to his private files in the school, this is another way of using this system.

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What if in addition to having an optional personal email, you also solicited the teacher's email address, and forced students to get one or the other? That way, if the student needed a password reset, you could send an email to a trusted source, the teacher. Storing the teacher's email as a separate field also makes it easier to exclude those users from automated emails with personal information, for instance.

Though it's not the best UX, you could also just force the students to create an email address before registering. I've been at an organization where admissions walked some students through this process... it works fine if you have students very interested in your product, but it adds a barrier to entry that may deter students who are apathetic.

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