I am working on a design for a log in box and my case is a bit different than seen else where. Our members can either login with member number and zip code OR username and password. We have a usability issue here because some (not many hopefully :-)) would think that you could login with fx username and zip code which is not possible.
The challenge is that I would like to show this without over communicating through a simple design. I am thinking fx using two colours – one for each option thereby showing which options are tied together. Have anyone designed any solutions like this or could you elaborate on what is best practice in a case like this?

  • Which solution did you end up implementing?
    – dnbrv
    Jul 13, 2012 at 6:08

2 Answers 2


The process of signing in with a member number (or any other piece of information that is available only on a physical item that may not be near a computer) isn't user friendly: very few people will remember the info so that they wouldn't need that physical item or they will forget to have it available. However, this isn't the case for one-time actions, such as creating online accounts and using customer/business account number to validate the user.

If you still wish to offer such a means of accessing accounts, I would stay away from tabs because they hide available information (i.e. users won't know what they need to sign in with member number until they open the tab) and because it might not be clear to some users that the tabs indicate other options for signing in. Thus, I'd rather show both options at once clearly demarcating the sets, as seen in the wireframe (I know it's slightly misaligned):

enter image description here

  • While I like the simplicity of the tabbed suggestion, this answer brings a good point, perhaps depending on the user base could dictate which would be more appropriate? With some, seeing a tabbed interface makes sense, however take an inexperienced user for example, put a tab there and they might not even know you can even click on it. Feb 27, 2012 at 14:29
  • Yes I would prefer your solution too, if there is enough space on the given page. But for example if the login box is in the right side bar, I think there isn't enough space for two sign in forms. Feb 28, 2012 at 7:32

If you're looking for a full page solution I would try something like this:

enter image description here

or if you're looking for an insite solution I would try a login form with two tabs:

enter image description here

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