Keep website registrations / signups simple

, posted: 6-May-2011 14:48

paperworkOne thing that continually pains me on my daily travels around the web is the seemingly relentless requirement to sign up and register to use most websites.
Requiring registration in itself is not necessarily without reason (or merit) - web sites are in a very competitive space these days, and have to strive to provide compelling offerings to their visitors to keep them coming back. But the amount of information they expect a visitor to provide as part of registration is often cumbersome if not daunting.
Large forms absolutely do put people off completing registration on your website. Here are some key considerations to think about when designing your online sign-up or registration processes.
1. Do you really need to know that?
Think carefully about what information you are asking visitors to give you. People are very protective of their personal details. And fields such as Date of Birth, Address, Post code, Phone number, etc. start raising red flags immediately. Unless you have a very good reason for needing to know personal details (an online store needing delivery address for example) don't ask for that information.
2. Do you need to know that right now?
Consider keeping the information required to sign up as bare minimum as possible - perhaps its just an e-mail address and a password. Then as the registered user starts to use a feature of your website that requires more information, ask for it then. People are far more likely to give up additional small pieces of information on demand if they are already a registered user and therefore have a vested interest.
An example might be a registered user making his first post in your online forums; "Hey there, we notice we don't have a nickname on file for you yet - would you like to give us one now so you can complete your post?"
3. Provide an incentive to give more information
An approach I've seen several sites using is to provide a virtual incentive to providing more information over time. For example LinkedIn will let you know that 'your profile is 87% complete' because they have more fields which can be filled with your information. While arguably this is a pretty arbitrary measurement, it is an incentive to fill in that information. It's surprising how much it motivates people to have a goal (in this case '100%') to reach.
4. Keep private information private!
Accepting personal information about a visitor on your website comes with a moral (if not legal) requirement to look after that information in a responsible manner. Facebook controversy has shown how sensitive people have become to their details being published without their explicit knowledge.
Be absolutely transparent with explanations of why you need to know personal information and what you will do with it. If, for example you have a profile for each user of your website; be clear about what will be shown publically/what will be shown to other members, and give options to enable/disable showing such information to the user.
These principles can be applied to most online forms, not just registration or sign ups. Filling in forms is no one's idea of fun. So you, as a responsible site owner should try to identify the pain points in your forms, and make it as simple as possible for someone filling them in.
[This was originally posted on the Red Jungle blog]

Chrome roundup

, posted: 5-Sep-2008 09:15

ChromeI was going to post a few links about Googles new browser 'Chrome' in my weekly Linkification post - but as theres such a flood of information and articles this week I've decided to move them into their own blog post. So here it is:

Google Chrome, Google’s Browser Project - a great article which includes the original announcement and the 38 page comic that Google put together as a product overview.
Google Chrome screenshots - for those who haven't taken the plunge yet.
Download Google Chrome beta (for windows)
Google Chrome, Chromium, and V8 launch today - the official word from Google.
Google Chrome press event: the video
Browsing with Google Chrome
Google Chrome's about: Pages
Google Chrome Features that we miss in other Web Browsers
Google Co-Founder Expects Chrome-Like Browser For Android
Google's Brin says Chrome headed to Android, probably
Portable Chrome Puts Chrome on Your Thumb Drive
Run Google Chrome in Ubuntu with WINE
Google Chrome Tips and Pointers
Chrome vs IE8
So Is Chrome The Fastest Or What?
Mozilla's thoughts on Google Chrome
The story behind Google Chrome
Dr. Frankenstein's Browser: The Strangely Obvious Ancestry of Google Chrome
Google Chrome EULA Claims Ownership of Everything You Create on Chrome, From Blog Posts to Emails - see next links for an update.
Google does not want rights to things you do with Chrome
Google Updating Chrome EULA to Be Less Creepy
Privacy Concerns Over Google Chrome’s "Omnibox"
Google Analytics now tracks Chrome
Serious security flaw found in Chrome - originally found by Aviv

And now some local reaction / opinion:

Xero's Rod Drury talks about the significance of Chrome - Xero were also very quick to update their site to support Chrome beta.
The Geekzone forum thread on Chrome - some love, some hate and some serious paranoia!

By the way, this blog entry was posted from Chrome. How are you finding it? :)

Permalink to Chrome roundup | Main Index

RedJungle's profile

Phil Gale
Hawkes Bay
New Zealand

My names Phil, and I'm a software / web developer (and designer) based in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

I've a keen interest in all things to do with the net', as well as GPS, and most other gadgets.

I am the director of Red Jungle Limited and StaffTracker Limited. I'm involved in a number of technology start-ups.

If you want to contact me, you can do so through my website.


Recent Posts

Keep website registrations / s...
Linkification v64...
Linkification v63...
Linkification v62...
Linkification v61...
Linkification v60...
Linkification v59...
Linkification v58...
Linkification v57...
Linkification v56...

Latest comments

nickb800 on Keep website registrations / signups simple: Good points. With the recent PSN hacking, it should remind website owners that c...

Jacob Sauni on Keep website registrations / signups simple: Great advice. It'd be good to know signup completion rates for simple forms vs l...

Tom Horn on Linkification v51: Thanks very much for linking to my World War Two Timeline Project. Glad you like...

Ragnor on Linkification v53: I'm floored, WebSpark is incredible value.. was considering learning Rails and b...

RedJungle on Linkification v42: Anyone still actually use hotmail? I only really used mine as spam address for e...

Ragnor on Linkification v42: Still no IMAP (without using office connector) for Windows Live Hotmail.. epic f...

RedJungle on Linkification v39: Hmm, thanks - it was only meant to be through one word.. formatting FAIL. ...

kinsten on Linkification v39: whats with the massive strike out?...

RedJungle on Linkification v38: A necissary evil - I added that link more so I can find the guide again in the f...

nate on Linkification v38: Interesting to see regular expressions here Phil... I know how much you love usi...

Recommended Reading