Why is the user likely to forget username and password?
Explain clearly with reference to human memory what the difficulties are.
Suggest ways in which designers can help users to use their memories effectively.
The aim of this essay is to understand and find why some user identification methods cause forgetfulness. In the context of a user who has just registered with an online supermarket, his password as “doggone9" is sent and confirmed through email and not the username consequently the user is required to remember his username.
Yan, Blackwell, Anderson, and Grant (2000) found that a lot of websites have failed in some aspect of the system during the design and they do not see the importance of the memorability in term of usability.
Any user who registers with a website is typically provided or told to select a username and password, we all know that a secured authentication is a priority to any organisation and essential for users, however the user is recommended to select a complex password which consists of a combination of letters and numbers to decrease the chances of a password being exposed or guessed. When a new user creates an account on the SuperShop.com website, the website sends an email to the user and confirms the password, however for securities reasons, they decided not to include the username in the email.
In regard to the likelihood of a user forgetting username and authentication, Interference is one the factors of why we forget password, there are situations where people are confused because they have to remember so many passwords and usernames. For example , someone who is registered with amazon ,eBay ,Facebook and many etc… all these organisations provide user identifications with unique usernames and passwords .
limited capacity of working memory
Items in stored in memory decay over time
Frequent/regular recall improves memorability of items (automaticity)
Unaided recall is harder than cued recall
Non-meaningful items are harder to recall than meaningful ones
Similar items compete and are easily confused
Items linger in memory – humans cannot “forget on demand”
Brostoff & Sasse (2000) found that another one of the reasons of password memory failure is the confusion with an old password 37% and password from other system 15% in addition to those findings a user is likely to type wrong user ID or missing chars 20 % .
The lack of constant use of the website will affect the ability of the user to remember his or her details ,there are high chances where the user will forget his username and password details if he or she does not logging into the website for some time , for example a user creates an account during the registry he or she sees his user details on the page but after a while the person will forget and will certainly need to reset his details . Memory load causes to forget passwords; the capability to recall passwords will depend on how many items is required to remember, the more there are items to memorise the likely we will forget.
A study conducted in 1999 ,comparing two methods of recalling passwords “the Self-selected and the Random” with the help of 106 students, they were (students) asked to select their own passwords but also asked to write down a random password on their questionnaire, finally they were told to memorise both the selected and random passwords after three months, the results of experiments was available and what Yan, Blackwell, Anderson, and Grant (2000) found is that the successful recall for the self-selected password was 35 % and 23% for the random one .From these findings we can conclude that it is more difficult to remember a random password than a self-selected one.
There are some key principals when designing a system to be used. In term of usability, designers should consider Memorability but also thinking about minimising mental workload