I am currently considering options for a web/intranet application login screen and this seems like a good place to share.

Not much work has gone into the current screen since creation and it exists as a dropdown list/box of usernames (fullname), password field and login button. The users seem comfortable with this (having existed this way for several years (they may be adverse to change)) but with the number of entries/users approaching 200 maybe it needs reconsideration.

I have observed some users "struggling" to find their username in amongst others, although some users are fairly comfortable with selecting the dropdown and typing. The system is often used in a manufacturing kiosk environment and so maybe typing should be minimal/minimised.

This screen can stay as is and I have plenty other things to develop (more features wanted at higher priority) but I am wondering if there are any good alternatives or suggestions. Autocomplete text box?

This situation leaves me with the following questions:

  • Are there any "mental models" for login screens?
  • Might there be any alternative options for username other than dropdown or text field?
  • How do I deal with resistance to change of interface?
  • Can anybody direct me to good literature on login screens/mental models?

6 Answers 6


Well, as for an alternative user might understand you could maybe try to combine the text field with the dropdown and autosuggest.

So you have a textbox with autosuggest and a drowdown arrow beside it. If you click on the arrow you see all user names, if you start typing the list will be reduced to the possible user names.

if you do not want to add a function to keep the user logged in you could at least remember the user name.

But in my experience with this amount of data a search/input field is really necessary.

I think the best way to deal with resistance to changes is to bring them on slightly. Users should have a dropdown like they used to, but I would hope that they try to use the new features and enjoy it. Also It might be good to show a "that is new" notice on the first startup. Google does this, and it shows you the new features,this way the user gets an explanation and might enjoy the new features rather than get confused by them.

  • add this scenario: Try this, don't alter the interface suddenly. just wait to see if a user is struggling with the combo box to find his name. then suggest him to use an alternative way using a textbox with auto-suggestion. then users slightly try using this new cool feature! after months or a year, completely remove combo box. Oct 22, 2010 at 16:42

Generally, mental models are used to help break sets of tasks down so that requirements about the process can be gathered. I don't know of any that make specific UI recommendations.

It would be better to use email or employee ID for the login credentials, they're unique versus a name that can be shared among many people. That one should be easy enough to explain why that change is necessary.

I don't recommend autocomplete for login screens. While it doesn't really give a person any more access to another's account, the perception that the user is accessing private information left by other users could have a negative effect.


If your login screen has the room, how about weening them? Provide a blank text input next to your dropdown menu and provide some wording like: Type your username or select it from the menu, then click 'Login'. After a year, take away the dropdown menu...


Lukas Oppermann's suggestion to use an autocomplete text field is the answer... I'd comment under his answer, but don't have enough reps to do so. Might add that you could add a A/B test to see with the option to use the other interface. Find it hard to believe people would want a dropdown with 200+ items in it... :-)


Do they always log in as a specific user/themselves? If it's an intranet site then some kind of single-sign-on is always preferred - ie, the user doesn't log in at all but the browser automatically "gives up" the logged in on the operating system credentials instead - for a seamless experience.

In a kiosk environment I guess the application itself is the sole security boundary though, not the operating system? Is there any good reason for displaying all usernames in a list or by autocompletion? Ie why was the more common empty textbox initially dismissed? I guess there's a good reason ^^

For low-security logins sometimes just a unique pin-code or password can be used, without any username at all. Pull-printers tend to use this system. As a security buff I scoff at it but, it seems to work fine due to the low impact of a breach. Some more information on what the system does and the implications on higher/lower security and identifiable end-users might be useful.


I think there is many answer about what to put there its time to for the design I will just answer about the design, you should use autocomplete or text field whatever its, the following link is just about the design . there is only one textbox , you should place another textbox for the password.

view design here View design

Jqtouch Preview Demo screen (view only in safari)

but this is not login screen just view of mobile screen you can then adjust this with your requirements.

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