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Background

I'm working on an application where users have to use a specific email domain to sign up (Either @a.com or @b.com. Anything else gets rejected).

In order to prevent my users from going through the form, clicking sign up, and being told they're e-mail is wrong, I'm adding warnings to the e-mail boxes.

Currently, if the user puts in an e-mail on the wrong domain, they get a red warning to the left that says they are using the wrong e-mail, however my boss would like to disable the e-mail confirmation field as well as the sign up button. I think doing both is a little extreme, but I think adding another one would be worth it, but I'm not sure which one to add.

Mockup

mockup

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Question

Should I disable the sign up button, the confirm e-mail input field, both, or neither?

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Disable "Sign Up" button, remove confirm email

I think a better alternative to the options you provide would be to remove the confirm email box all together. There are a few reputable articles out there that make the case that they simply are not necessary.

Why retype it if you can just read it?

Only in 18% of the cases it was necessary to confirm the e-mail. To be honest, we don’t really see any rationale in asking users to re-type the e-mail — after all, users can see what they input because the e-mail field is not starred out

Smashing Magazine

Should you put confirm boxes on every input? Are your users that incompetent?

Where do you draw the re-entry line? If I’m ordering something online that is to be delivered to me at home, should I re-enter my home address? It’s rude, it’s assuming the worst of the user. It doesn’t actually solve the problem.

Death to email address re-entry

more:

Repeating email address article

Is a confirm email address field still considered a best practice?

SO...

So now your decision is easy, put the disabled attribute on the sign up button as it is the only option left. Now you have a simplified UX a cleaner UI and an easy decision.

  • In answer to the rhetorical questions you posted: 1) Yes, but we know people don't double-check their email addresses, and errors are not uncommon. How many customers are you willing to lose? 2) Email is arguably the worst thing to get wrong. Other errors can be fixed later, and login details can be recovered (username) or reset (password), but without a working email you can't do any of that. – octern Mar 16 '16 at 9:23
  • It seems common to not require email re-entry when the user is signing up for a mailing list or coupon, but to require it when they're creating an account. That seems sensible, since you shouldn't be requesting account details until they're fairly far into the conversion funnel and more invested in you. – octern Mar 16 '16 at 9:25
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Why would you not disable both?

If you only disable the signup button, you'd have them enter an unusable email account twice?

And you shouldn't enable the signup button until all the required fields have been filled. I'd suggest keeping it grayed out until enough fields have been filled, and then switch it to your brand color or something, to indicate they can submit if they don't want to fill out all of the boxes.

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I'd like to share this article on "inactive" or "disabled" states: http://www.uxbooth.com/articles/who-killed-the-inactive-button-state/

Twitter, e.g., does not use the inactive-state at all - because it does not explain what actually is not going right. Instead of "You can not use me!", the message could be "You clicked me, yet I need THIS and THIS information to continue" to avoid the "why?" question by the user.

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Is there a reason to be coy about which domains are allowed? Why not prevent the user from inputing any other email from the start?

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Allow the user to select the domain. No chance for a wrong email. Remember that it's better to prevent an error than to give an error message and make the user redo work.

  • I've used this pattern on my site and found that users were not noticing the select list entering fred@a.com or even fred@c.com into the text box. People are used to typing their whole email address. – thelem Aug 3 '16 at 12:43

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