What To Do When That Email Address Already Exists

Tue, Jul 21, 2009

Simplicity Rules

It’s not often that an account signup process on a website makes me happy. This happened today and I would love to share it with you.

I was covering MapQuest’s new directions API for ProgrammableWeb. Like most API providers, MapQuest requires developers to register. I thought I might have signed up, but the first username/password combo didn’t take. So, I decided to create a new account.

When I did, I was prompted with the following message:

“That email address has already signed up for an account. Would you like to have your password reset and your welcome letter resent?”

MapQuest tells me I have an accountIt’s a tiny change from the usual that makes a big difference. Most sites would simply present me with an error about an email address already being in their system. Maybe I’d be given a link to the forgot password screen. More likely I’d have to hit my browser’s back button, then find the form myself.

MapQuest has shown its developers understand the flow of interaction in that situation. It was just a login screen, but they put in that little bit of extra effort needed to make it work.

Login screens have been a common topic at Simplicity Rules:

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Antony pegg Says:

    Hi there,

    thanks for the great feedback!

    Just in case you are trying to do any POST action with the API tonight
    we just discovered a bug or a documentation issue

    you need to set your mime-type to application/json OR start your post body with “json=”
    we will either remove that requirement or tidy up the doc tomorrow to point that out

    platform services product manager

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