Forgot My Password: Austin American-Statesman

Another in the ongoing series “one million ways to screw up a password reminder page.” This one’s from the Austin American-Statesman, a site I only registered on because a friend forwarded an article I might enjoy, and this is one of those (extremely annoying) sites where you can only read an article if you’re signed in.

I’ve read maybe one or two articles over the lifetime of this relationship, and now that I want to STOP receiving emails about real estate I will never buy, the American-Statesman is making it as difficult as possible for me to tell them so.

I’ve started using password-management software in the last year or so, but before I never bothered: I can always get the site to remind me, right? Well…

Plus point of this form: your login is your email address, and they tell you so right there on the form.

However, since I’ve forgotten the password and cannot sign in, there is no apparent reason for me to fill in that box. What I want is the “Forgot your password?” link, and I go straight for that.

When I click it, however, I get an error message as shown below:

Hmm. You don’t see many sites where you must fill in a field in order to click a link. That’s confusing.

As instructed, I fill in the email address, THEN click “Forgot your password?”

Result: I find myself at a page which is blank except for the American-Statesman’s top navigation. It does not tell me whether anything happened as a result of my filling in the email address and clicking the link. Did it work? Was there a silent error?

I go back and do it again. Same result. At this point I assume that maybe it worked but no one’s bothering to tell me.

Later on, in my mailbox, I find that it has worked – in fact the login info has been sent to me twice.


If a field must be filled in to permit a click, use a Submit button rather than a link.

And give your user some !@#$@ feedback on whether the operation was a success!


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