Wrong Email Address

SCENARIO

The user entered the wrong email address to sign in to their account.

CHALLENGE

Tell the user to enter the right email.

ELEMENTS

40 characters max


THOUGHT PROCESS

Before we dive into this challenge, it’s important to note that there’s a security best practice where apps and websites aren’t suppose to say the email or username is wrong when users attempt to log in. Instead, they’d usually say the “email/username OR password is incorrect,” like what GitHub did on their log in page.

GitHub is being vague for security reasons

For the purpose of this exercise, let’s assume that the error message will tell the user that their email is wrong. There are many ways to write an error message, but we should phrase it so that it doesn’t put the blame on the user. Ideally, this error message should accomplish two things:

  • It should tell the user what the problem is
  • It should tell the user what to do next

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

First, I came up with a few scenarios where the email is considered as “wrong”:

1. The email doesn’t have the correct format

Let’s say the user types in something like “harry@[email protected]” in the email address field.

Clearly there’s a problem with the email format, so we could say “Please enter a valid email address.”

2. The email is not in the database

Assuming the user’s email is in the correct format, but they have never used it to sign up for an account, we could phrase the error message as “This email doesn’t belong to an account” to let users know that their email does exist, but it’s just not on our website or app’s database.

3. The email doesn’t match the password

This brings us back to the security best practices. I wouldn’t explicitly say the email or password is incorrect in case someone tries to hack into the account. I think it’s best that the error message explains the situation for what it really is – something like “The email and password do not match.”

FINAL COPY

Since the purpose of this challenge is to tell the user that their email is wrong, I decided to go with:

This email doesn’t belong to an account.

If this was a real-world scenario, I would also write error messages for other scenarios as described above.

KEY LEARNING

I think the main challenge here is the character limit. My final copy has exactly 40 characters but if I had a bit more leeway I’d also include a message that tells users what to do next, such as “Try again.”(even though it’s self-explanatory).

The key takeaway for me is that every word matters and as UX writers, we must convey a clear message with as few words as possible.

Created with Figma
UI Kit by Rodgence Kagaba