My company is working on an internal phone application to be used by many users that requires authentication. Based on historical data, we can assume the likelihood of a user's identity at a given geographical location (some staff only log in at a specific place).

What's a good way to ask the user if their name is on the 'probable usernames' list without sounding creepy or authoritative?

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This design pattern was chosen so as to avoid needing to type in both usernames and passwords each time the app is started (perhaps several times per day).

  • I've seen places where people had to share a workstation to do inventory management. Since logging in took too much time, everyone used the same account and didn't log out. So providing these 'shortcuts' might be the difference between users adopting the system, or users using inventive ways to go around it. But if this is a phone application, why do I have to log in if this is my phone and don't share it?
    – jff
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 19:24
  • @jff the software will run on a company-owned device that simply happens to be a phone. Any authorised employee may use the device, but their actions must be tied to their own account, thus the need to log in.
    – Bryce
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 23:50

2 Answers 2


If you check "standard" login screens, like one Mac OSX or Android you can see that they usually don't rely on any headline at all.

That's why I'd go with a simple "Suggested users:" as headline for the user list. In case somebody finds it too big-brotherish, you could add a small explanation on a secondary screen ("Who suggested these users?", or something like that.)

In addition to your question I'd like to mention that you should be careful with the "other user"-field. What happens when the user clicks it? Will he be forced to search his username from an 100-entries list? If so, it might be better to offer the classical Username-and-passwort edittext combination. Also keep in mind, that some users might share the same name ("John Smith"), so you might also want to add an avatar (or show the username instead of the real name)

  • Also, what happens if both John Smith's don't have an avatar yet?
    – tmyie
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 12:23
  • 1
    @tmyie you are right, that's why I suggested to show the user name instead - or in addition - to the real name
    – Lovis
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 12:53

Loggin in several times per day could be annoying task. You try to solve it proposing more convinient way which could lead to less user's effort.

Following you way, I just propose several steps further. Make the loggin process not only easy (even easy frequent tasks are boring), but fun, at least, pleasant, which will bring better experience.

Use avatars for users. Most people choose avatar very thoroughly, as it's their representation. It's pleasant to watch own avatar. Also it could be interesting to see others avatars. So even system has wrong suggestion on person, the avatars could slightly smooth the error. Using avatars also leads to faster item recognition.
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Having no suggestion, or just periodically but unexpectedly for a user, use some fun items, like Disney's heroes, etc. This also could eliminate the annoying and lead to desired interaction.
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  • 3
    I agree with the effectiveness of adding an avatar for faster recognition. However, your second point seems to be advocating 'filler' content which would seem to increase the mental complexity of the screen.
    – Bryce
    Commented Oct 14, 2013 at 23:43

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