What should a e-mail address confirmation e-mail say?

  • I'm sending out an e-mail containing a link to prove the user had registered with an e-mail address they have access to.

    1. What is the name of such an e-mail? Verification e-mail, confirmation e-mail, account activation or something else? In a similar sense what is the name of the link in the e-mail?

    2. What should the e-mail say? I want to make this accessible to non-technically inclined users.

    3. What should the subject of the e-mail be?

    Don't forget 4) What should a user, who did not expect the e-mail do with it? Somebody may try to sign you up for something or just make a typo and you get an unexpected unwanted confirmation mail. Then it should tell you what somebody did to get you the e-mail, what you would confirm if you click and that it will not further annoy you when you don't click (you are not automatically signed up for some newsletter or similar). Many such e-mails explicitly state "if it wasn't you, it is safe to ignore the e-mail and no further action is required".

  • Izhaki

    Izhaki Correct answer

    8 years ago

    Sadly there is no standard for the name of such an email - all your suggestions are used. But consider the following:

    • Verification Email - used when you can still access services, but need to verify your email in the meantime.
    • Activation Email - used when services (account) are not accessible until email activation takes place. You can argue that there is some more urgency in 'activating' than in 'verifying'.
    • Confirmation Email - I prefer to think of this as something sent as a confirmation of something (purchase confirmation, password change confirmation). You can say that the email is to confirm the user's email address.

    Here are a few examples to get you started (starting with my favourite):

    The Noun Project

    Please Verify your Noun Project account

    Noun Project Email

    The good:

    • Very minimalistic design.

    The bad:

    • email subject and content terms don't match. Subject says 'Verify' while content says 'Activate'.
    • No need for the 'Activate Account' heading. It is redundant to the button, which is the primary action point.
    • Link contrast somewhat low.


    Activate your MailChimp account.

    MailChimp Activation Email

    The good:

    • Monkey and "Just one more step..." make the system appear more fun and the sentence should motivate people to click on the button.

    The bad:

    • No need for the line asking people to click on the button. Most people should get it without these instructions (and even if they won't get it - people often try the most probable possible action when inconclusive).
    • Few will care for the address of the company, or the copyright clause at this point and user eyes will most often skip this. The address of the company does promote trust, but such soft goal is likely to have already been satisfied prior registrations.
    • No links in case the email was sent by mistake, or if people have problems when clicking the button.


    Please confirm your email

    Pinterest Confirmation Email

    The good:

    • Nice design.

    The bad:

    • Again, no real need for the sentence next to the button.
    • Two exclamation marks can be considered style that is not ideal. Exclamation marks should be used sparingly for a very specific desired effect.
    • The long link is ugly, and in my view unnecessary. This is even more odd as the Privacy Policy is given as a normal link.

    am sorry for being off topic but I couldn't find the answer by googling around. Q: How did you format yellowish background for your "Subject" text? Thanks.

    You can click 'edit' to see. But to answer: Add > before a line.

    I disagree to your points: "No need for the line asking people to click on the button. People should get it without these instructions." "Nobody cares for the address of the company, or the copyright clause. Users eyes will skip this." You don't need the instructions, but other people may. The address and the copyright clause creates trust for new users.

    @Bluewater, I was perhaps too absolute in my phrasing. Clearly SOME will find the instructions useful - but designer should scope a design around the normal distribution range of users, and I'd argue that those who need the instructions are at the extremes.

    The address of the company is important for trust, but you'd assume such soft goal would have to be satisfied prior to registrations. I can't quite see how a copyright clause promotes trust, but the same argument as above would apply if it would. I've improved the post nevertheless in response to your comments.

    @Izhaki Thanks for the elaboration. To your point about normal distribution range - I totally disagree, when you design for a diversified user group, you should always try to help the ones that need the extra information - There is no loss for your 'superusers' to get an extra line of instructions. If you design for the lowest experienced user group, everyone will gain.

    Any extra information becomes visual noise once learnt. For this reason, you don't get on screen explanations for things like buttons ("move the mouse cursor here and click to perform the action stated"), minimise icons, or tabs. The wider the variance of people a design has to satisfy, the more complex and thus less usable it will become. A designer should design to the bulk of the users (definitely not only for experts), but supporting those at the far extreme (say 2% of the population) could reduce usability for the other 98% in a way that overall isn't justified.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM