I don’t know about you, but seeing a line of dots where I typed a password doesn’t really give me great comfort that I managed to correctly spit out my long and complicated password into a website. And if it’s one thing I cannot stand doing is repeating myself – it’s one of the reasons I became a programmer, after all. So you’ve obscured the password field to the very long password I’ve made – usually at your request – and I managed to typo something simple. Now I get to do it all over again, except this time with a glaring message letting me know I did something wrong.

None of this sounds like a great user experience to me.

hiddenpasswords

So why are passwords obscured in the first place?

It’s not technically a security measure – even though that’s the gut reaction. It’s obfuscation – which to the layman is a valid security measure. But we should be clear – hiding something along one dimension does not amount to securing something. So we’ve obscured a password solely from sight, keeping in mind it’s still fair game to any sort of trojan horse keylogger on your system, it’s not encrypted in any way, and if you’re on a public WIFI connection it’s floating around in the air available in clear, plain text for anyone to sniff out. Ok, so all of this is to prevent people from seeing what you type when they are looking over your shoulder?

How often is that really a problem? And if that’s a problem, shouldn’t you seek to remedy that?