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Usability: The usability of the Forgot Password form

 
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Picture of Breno Jacinto
Usability: The usability of the Forgot Password form
 
Hello fellow Moodle users,

I'm part of large project on Distance Education here in Brazil, in the state of Alagoas. We are offering undergraduate course for about 2000 people, and it's been an amazing experience. Particularly, we have a group here research on usability and online interaction, of which Moodle is being studied by some of our researchers.

A very subtle usability problem we have been experiencing is about the Forgot Password form. We have tested this in our production version (1.8.3) as well as on our testing version (1.9.4) and it seems to be unmodified up to now.

The forgot password form offers two inputs: user and password, of which one, and only one, must be filled. Now, if both of the fields are filled, the only error shown is "Enter either username or email address". This happens to be confusing a LOT of our users, since offering two inputs motivates them to type both fields.

One suggestion is to change the form to offer a single input, which could contain just the username or e-mail. The system would then parse the input for a "@" to infer if it is an e-mail or otherwise a username. I belive that would improve Moddle's usability.

What do you think?

best regards,

- Breno


 
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Me and da boys!
Re: Usability: The usability of the Forgot Password form
 
I agree that a single field for email would be clearer but parsing the @ would not be a universal solution.
 
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Picture of Breno Jacinto
Re: Usability: The usability of the Forgot Password form
 
Hello,

Is it allowed to have usernames with an "@"? Well, if yes then a more elaborated heuristic could be applied to diff e-mails from usernames.

Is there any place where such changes could be suggested officially for the developers?

best regards,

- Breno
 
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Picture of Helen Foster
Re: Usability: The usability of the Forgot Password form
Group Core developersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Plugin developersGroup TestersGroup Translators
Is there any place where such changes could be suggested officially for the developers?

Yes - the Moodle Tracker. smile Please see Development:New feature ideas for details of how to get a new feature or improvement included in Moodle core.
 
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Picture of Olli Savolainen
Re: Usability: The usability of the Forgot Password form
Group Core developers
+1 for changing this. The form clearly communicates a wholly different functionality than it actually has.

It may be even more confusing if a single field is actually acting in two roles. To be on the safe side, I would say it is clearest to just communicate verbally and visually that the fields are alternatives. And since these are actually two different ways to get the password, I think they should also have separate submit buttons. (Coincidentally, this is also easier to implement than combining the fields into one.)

I have seen this used on the web, and I can give you an example of how it should look by creating a mockup in the tracker. Please create a ticket in the tracker and I will add a mockup there with the built-in mockup tool Balsamiq.
 
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Picture of Olli Savolainen
Re: Usability: The usability of the Forgot Password form
Group Core developers
I just created MDL-19563 for this.
 
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Picture of Breno Jacinto
Re: Usability: The usability of the Forgot Password form
 
Hello everyone,

I just wanted to thank all the replies and be very glad that such an update will have a great improvement on the usability of Moodle. Hopefully everybody will benefit from it.


best regards,


- Breno Jacinto



 
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Picture of Olli Savolainen
Re: Usability: The usability of the Forgot Password form
Group Core developers
I usability tested the new design (see tracker issue above) and it seems it solves this issue. The patch was already implemented and I believe Tim Hunt will add it to Moodle 2.0 core shortly.

The usability test was really small but the new form did a lot better than the old one. This is as sure as we are about the usability of any UI in Moodle, so it is pretty good.

http://www.pilpi.net/software/moodle/2009/08/19/quickie-usability-testing-file-upload-and-forgotten-password/

This documentation will later likely be copied to Moodle Docs.
 
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