Registration Forms – A Deal Maker Can Turn Into a Deal Breaker

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Categories: Web Usability

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I have yet to meet someone who is absolutely thrilled at the sight of a registration form on someone else’s website. However, I’ve noticed that clients seem to forget their own hidden hate for registration forms on other websites when it comes to their own. Of course, they want the whole shabbang, user registration, profiles, locked areas, etc. It’s up to us to convince them otherwise.

Here are a few questions to ask your client (or yourself, if you’re in that position).

Problem 1 – Useless Registration

Is there any visible benefit to the user to register? This goes beyond the organization’s need to harvest contact information from its users?

Problem 2 – Restriction of Information

Are you prohibiting the access of information that should normally be available? Users often go to a website with the intent of obtaining information, if you put up a roadblock between information

Problem 3 – That Extra Step

Are you enticing your user with enough benefits to outweigh their inconvenience? You’re putting an extra step between a user and their objective. You’re making the user think twice before they continue. As an example, if I want to leave a short comment on a blog, it is usually not worth my while to register, then login, wait for my confirmation email, only to leave 2 lines of text.

Users are familiar with email confirmations, remembering the logins for multiple websites, remembering which websites they signed up for and which they didn’t. Your website should have a lot to offer before someone thinks of going through the entire process.

Problem 4 – Asking Too Much

Will your registration form ask too much? Will your registration form seem so intrusive that users will exit halfway through and reevaluate their decision that registration was worth the benefit? (Problem 3)

That’s all for now, hope that helps. Feel free to leave a comment, without registering. :)

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