Gartner Research

Best Practices in User ID Formation, 2012 Update

Published: 28 August 2012

ID: G00238344

Analyst(s): Ant Allan


Poor user ID formats create usability, operational and security problems. Enterprises introducing new global user-naming conventions should follow these best practices to maximize benefits.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Challenges



  • Evaluate the Need for a New Standard User ID Format, Considering Benefits, Costs and Impacts
  • Choose a Format That Provides the Best Balance of Uniqueness, Persistency, Neutrality, Universality and Memorability
  • If You Choose a Name-Based Format, Ensure That It Is Acceptable to All Users, Especially International Users
    • Name-Based User ID Strengths
    • Name-Based User ID Limitations
    • International Considerations
  • If You Choose an Arbitrary Format, Ensure That It Can Meet Persistency and Consistency Requirements
    • Arbitrary User ID Strengths
    • Arbitrary User ID Limitations
  • Avoid Using a Structured Format
    • Structured User ID Strengths
    • Structured User ID Limitations
  • Ensure That Your Chosen Format Extends Sensibly to Administrator and Shared Accounts
  • Relax Requirements for Customer User IDs to Improve Customers' User Experience
    • Assigning Arbitrary User IDs
    • Using Users' Email Addresses
    • Allowing Users to Choose Their Own User IDs

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