Username vs. email for business users

24 Apr 2008 - 6:25pm
5 years ago
5 replies
1804 reads
Anthony Hempell
2007

anyone with an opinion on this?

It's commonplace to have email addresses as the username for regular
users, since generally an email address is tied to only one individual;

However business email addresses sometimes have multiple users, and/or
are sent to distribution lists; and possibly if a person uses their
own business email (ie. joe at bigcompany.com) and they move on / are
fired / etc... then the account enters into a period of limbo if
nobody can access the account since that email address is no longer
valid.

Hence -- is it better to just ask for a username for business users
instead?

Anthony

Comments

25 Apr 2008 - 1:31pm
Pieter Jansegers
2008

Very good point !

I would say : give the users the choice. As many microblogs are doing right
now.

I would even add: make the use of a username a paid [but permanent] feature.
(€1)

It's about the only feature I believe people would pay for, because it's
quite easier to have a shorted username version to type over and over again
then a long email address.

Pieter Jansegers
http://webosophy.ning.com

and initiator of the microblogs social network:
http://microblogs.ning.com

On 4/25/08, Anthony Hempell <ahempell at telus.net> wrote:
>
> anyone with an opinion on this?
>
> It's commonplace to have email addresses as the username for regular
> users, since generally an email address is tied to only one individual;
>
> However business email addresses sometimes have multiple users, and/or
> are sent to distribution lists; and possibly if a person uses their
> own business email (ie. joe at bigcompany.com) and they move on / are
> fired / etc... then the account enters into a period of limbo if
> nobody can access the account since that email address is no longer
> valid.
>
> Hence -- is it better to just ask for a username for business users
> instead?
>
> Anthony
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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>

25 Apr 2008 - 2:56pm
Dean Wong
2008

It depends on a number of factors (what are the goals of your site v.
the goals of your users) but generally in Enterprise environments and
regarding business users, using the work or business email address as
the unique identifier is preferred for a number of reasons:

-- Less likely to have duplication issues (which usernames often have
as usership grows)
-- It's a unique identifier that ties back to the company ID
-- It's far easier to remember considering how many
username/password combinations the given person has in their
repetoire for work and play etc. etc.
-- Email addresses are extensible to other needs within the business:
email outreach, customer support/care, database cleanups etc. etc.

Usernames are helpful in Social networking environments or
commentary, if privacy or "handles" are preferred to so-called
protect the innocent. A whole other set of difficulties that comes
into play involves systems that support both modes: username and
email address as an acceptable account authentification.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28413

25 Apr 2008 - 2:57pm
Dean Wong
2008

It depends on a number of factors (what are the goals of your site v.
the goals of your users) but generally in Enterprise environments and
regarding business users, using the work or business email address as
the unique identifier is preferred for a number of reasons:
-- Less likely to have duplication issues (which usernames often have
as usership grows)
-- It's a unique identifier that ties back to the company ID
-- It's far easier to remember considering how many
username/password combinations the given person has in their
repetoire for work and play etc. etc.
-- Email addresses are extensible to other needs within the business:
email outreach, customer support/care, database cleanups etc. etc.
Usernames are helpful in Social networking environments if say
privacy or "handles" are preferred to "protect the innocent."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28413

25 Apr 2008 - 3:01pm
Dean Wong
2008

It depends on a number of factors (what are the goals of your site v.
the goals of your users) but generally in Enterprise environments and
regarding business users, using the work or business email address as
the unique identifier is preferred for a number of reasons:

-- Less likely to have duplication issues (which usernames often have
as usership grows)
-- It's a unique identifier that ties back to the company ID
-- It's far easier to remember considering how many
username/password combinations the given person has in their
repetoire for work and play etc. etc.
-- Email addresses are extensible to other needs within the business:
email outreach, customer support/care, database cleanups etc. etc.

Usernames are helpful in Social networking environments or in
ratings/commentary, if privacy or "handles" are preferred to
"protect the so-called innocent." A whole other set of difficulties
that comes into play involves systems that support both modes:
username and email address as an acceptable account authentification.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=28413

26 Apr 2008 - 9:48pm
Michael Micheletti
2006

Hi Anthony,

You can probably make up your mind quite quickly if you do a little
experiment. Find all the sites that you personally have an account with that
use your email address as a unique identifier. Change all of them to a new
email address. It will take you days, and some of the transactions (Amazon,
eBay, Paypal) will walk you through an exceptionally awkward multi-step
confirmation process for security reasons. At some point during one of these
processes, you will likely become confused about just what to do with which
site. No two sites have quite the same email change process. I'm a digital
adept and the process never fails to confuse me - I can only imagine how
difficult it would be for someone who is not a computer professional to be
successful.

Contrast the experience with sites where your email address is not the
primary unique identifier. You'll probably be able to simply go to your
account, change the email listed there (maybe confirm it a second time) and
press the save button.

I hope this is helpful,

Michael Micheletti

On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 4:25 PM, Anthony Hempell <ahempell at telus.net> wrote:

> anyone with an opinion on this?
>
> It's commonplace to have email addresses as the username for regular
> users, since generally an email address is tied to only one individual;
>
> However business email addresses sometimes have multiple users, and/or
> are sent to distribution lists; and possibly if a person uses their
> own business email (ie. joe at bigcompany.com) and they move on / are
> fired / etc... then the account enters into a period of limbo if
> nobody can access the account since that email address is no longer
> valid.
>
> Hence -- is it better to just ask for a username for business users
> instead?
>
> Anthony
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

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