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This guide explains how to ask users to create a username.
Meeting the Digital Service Standard
To pass point 13 (make the user experience consistent with GOV.UK) in your service assessments, you must use GOV.UK design patterns and guidance.
Read the guide on using, adapting and creating design patterns before you start designing or building anything.
Email addresses as usernames
You should use email addresses for usernames because:
- they’re memorable
- they’re usually unique
- it’s easier than having to create a unique username
- you often need to ask for them anyway
Remember that not everyone has or wants to use an email address. The number of users without access to email will differ from service to service.
You should do research to understand this group and have a plan for helping them to use your service.
You should only ask users to create their own usernames if your service contains user-generated content that requires attributing. For example, a blog with comments.
User-generated usernames are harder to create and easier to forget than email addresses.
You need to:
- tell people whether their proposed username is unique
- suggest unique ones for them, in some cases
- make sure people can retrieve or reset their username
Always let people make changes
Whatever approach to usernames you take, make sure you let people change their email address or username.
If users are unlikely to access your service more than once, it may be easier to give them a unique reference instead of forcing them to create a username.
Unique references are hard to remember so you should email or SMS them to the user.
You may also find these guides useful:
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- Design community
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Guidance first published