Verify email using link

How necessary is it to verify a user’s email address when they create a new account?

In the past, especially with online forums like SitePoint, when you signed up, the website would snd you an email with a link which you had to click on to activate your account?

Does that make sense these days?

depends on what your site is and what you do with your user accounts and emails.

It’s a paid membership site.

Then I would think you’d want to verify that the contact email you’re going to send your billing notifications to/answer questions from is a valid one, no?

I think verification is important, BUT I am also trying to follow some UI articles I read which say when you have a membership site you should make the account sign up and checkout all on one page. And it seems tricky to verify someone’s email address and take their payment details all on one page so that is why I was wondering if maybe you just have to trust that they are smart enough to give you a valid mail address.

It would indeed be difficult to do that.

Again, use cases.

If i’m the local pizza joint, I don’t really care if the email you gave me for updates on the pizza order you just made is valid - If your payment processed, I can process your pizza and get it out to you, and meanwhile follow up with a confirmation email to make sure you really are upstateleafpeeper@email.com and you did in fact sign up for my coupon mailing list. I can gather all the information at once, but it isnt a blocker to the process.

Yes, but if I was a site like SitePoint where the whole essence of the membership is an online profile and access to paid content, then I think a valid email is more important, right?

I need a legitimate way to contact customers about billing matters, plus they use their email/password to log into the site.

Which is why you’ll find that most sites that value that sort of validity will create an account, but put it in a state of suspension until the person validates their email, either by following a link or submitting a code sent to that email address. It’s a more secure way of validating opt-in status.

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So you seem to think email validation makes sense.

That leads to another question…

My website offers premium content and services for paid members - not too dissimilar from what SitePoint does.

I have been reading a lot about UI/UX and it seems that modern design says that your checkout process should be on one page.

Since my checkout process also requires a person to set up an account, is it a problem to include email validation as part of the account creation and checkout process?

My idea was to have a single form where the user first enters their email, and then i have a button they would click which sends an email with a code in the email, and then the user would paste this code from their email into the checkout form and then continue onward entering things like: username, password, payment details, etc.

I am trying to avoid the old-fashioned way of doing things where you have to create an account and then validate it and then go back to the site and log n and then checkout out. From what I have been reading, all of those steps seem to chase people away because there are too many steps.

I’m just wondering if a quick checkout detour requiring the user to check their email and copy & paste a code back into the checkout form is asking too much?

Yes, that would be an odd user experience. Many ecommerce checkouts offer anonymous checkout or login/create restoring cart contents.

Okay, I know this thread is in the Design and UX category, but i have to say this: UI comes second to function. If your functional requirements for the site preclude the ability to have the process ‘on one page’, then it doesnt matter what modern design says. Modern design says my car should be low to the ground, slim and aerodynamic. If i’m building an 18 wheeler… tough ****.

I’d consider it odd. You can go one of three routes, in my mind; either you require validation of an email ahead of time (which is what you say you’re trying to avoid), you allow for a non-account to purchase something (which doesn’t REALLY make sense for a subscription/content-access type of model), or you put a blurb on the page that says “Your login information will be sent to the email provided. This email must be valid.” Then, if they put an invalid email in, they’ve wasted their money, but you warned them.

EDIT: As an aside, this is why you’ll often see pages require you to input your email twice - they’re making sure you didnt typo the email accidentally, and they’re going to do the last version.

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So in the end, what are you advising?

I thought the solution I came up with addressed all concerns, but you don’t seem convinced. (Or maybe I didn’t explain what i am trying to do well enough.)

You would like to think that if someone is signing up for an online subscription which gives them access to member-only content that they would take entering in a valid email pretty seriously. And I think people will, but I just figured that validating their email during checkout would be a nice safety guard?

It also gives me the reassurance that I have a valid way to contact them, because technically you could register on my site with "some_bogus_email@gail.com" and you’d be able to log in but then you’d never get your receipt or important communications like pasword resets and such.

I guess i’m not quite understanding you, because in one post you say that you must do it all in one step, and in the next you say you want to validate their email, a process that by definition cannot be done all in one step.

Perhaps I should ask it this way: Lay out for me, in exact terms, what you intend for your form to do.

Sorry if words got mixed up.

Based on what I have read, the experts are saying you should ideally have one page that makes up your checkout AND it should be as short as possible. (Some research paper even talked about how many fields are acceptable?!)

When I say “Do checkout in one step” I was referring to there being one checkout page - although to your point of confusion, yeah, I guess you could see my email validation as more than one step.

Here is what I have laid out in my mind…

  • In the header, the user clicks on “Subscribe now”.
  • A page is displayed with maybe 3 different subscription options.
  • User clicks “Checkout” for the option they want, and the one-page checkout form loads

Checkout Page

Step 1: Verify shopping items

Step 2: Enter Account Details

Username: _________
Email Address: ________
<< Send a “Security Code” to my email >> (button)

- Upon clicking the button, the system would send the code in an email
- System would reload the form now showing the rest of the fields
- User would paste code into next field...

Checkout Page refreshed

Step 1: Verify shopping items

Step 2: Enter Account Details
Username: _________
Email Address: ________
Security Code: _____
Password: ________
Verify Password: _________

Step 3: Enter Payment Details
Cardholder Name: ____________
Credit Card #: _______________
And so on…

<< Process Order >> (button)

So, to your point, there would be one Checkout page, but I guess a few steps since they would have to click a button, go to email, and paste code into form.

To me, the whole process seems much easier than what I have to do on other membership/subscription/ecommerce sites (including SitePoint), but that’s my opinion.

Make more sense now?

Okay, that makes sense, though yeah, i would argue that it isn’t in one step (the user stopping to go to their email to get the code being the break point), but the flow makes sense.

Assuming you’re just selling digital goods (in other words, goods that have an infinite supply), you won’t have to worry about time-between.

Something to think about when coding it is repeat customers - what if the user is already logged in to an account?

So is the workflow I described, doable?

(I think it is much more streamlined than most websites, and it balances convenience for the user with giving me some reassurance that I have a legitimate way to contact them.)

Sorry, I don’t understand what you’re saying here.

Well, the email validation is a one-time thing when you create a new account and subscribe for the first time.

For now I am going to make people manually renew their subscriptions, but all that requires is logging in again - no email validation - and buying another subscription.

Down the road I can offer automatic renewals, but first I have to learn how to do that as it is more difficult.

What i mean is the following possible condition:

  1. User puts items in their cart.
  2. User clicks checkout, fills out email.
  3. Email takes time to arrive, user wanders away from the computer.
  4. Meanwhile, the goods in question are sold out.
  5. The user returns to their computer, the email has arrived. They enter the code.
  6. Now your system has a problem: Does it know whether the goods are still in stock?

With digital subscription services, you don’t have that problem; you can’t run out of the goods. There isnt a ‘sold out’, it’s an infinite supply of “yes you can have access to this content.”

Gotcha!

So, if I implement what I described above, would it be the end of the world as we know it?

I guess my stance is:

I spent a lot of time trying to combine the “best practices” that I’ve been reading with my somewhat unique situation of selling an online subscription.

Considering that my prior account registration was like 8 pages, I was feeling pretty proud of myself knocking it down to one page (some scrolling necessary) and having to toggle over to your email quickly.

In the end, I guess I am banking on the fact that anyone who is serious enough to part with $40-$50 for an annual subscription to content on my website is serious enough that they will understand my need to validate their email address.

But who knows?! :thinking:

Verification of Email is most important part because probably most of the things attached with email so its important to verify