Should? or Must?

When signing up for a new account on a website, many sites often have very restrictive rules about the required characters for the password that you may choose, for example, this one:


I was glad that this site at least posted their requirements right near the password field. That way I was sure to choose a password that met their criteria.

I choose a fairly secure password that was more the 8 characters long, and had some upper and lower case letters and even some numbers included.

I was really surprised with the following error message appeared:

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 12.33.12 PM

Thanks for giving me incorrect information about your password criteria. Maybe you don't know the definition of "should."

According to an online legal source (google it!) "should" means a person is "encouraged" to do something while "must" and "shall" mean they are required to do it. Should is often used for talking about what is "right, sensible, or correct"

The creators of the site obviously haven't worked with a professional writer, content strategist or usability professional.