Registering your frustration

Following the launch of our recent Ecommerce Usability report, one the lowest scoring guidelines was focused on user registration and this made me think of a tip I wrote on this for our newsletter a few months ago. Too many websites still force users to register without good reason, or provide an ineffective registration process, leading to frustrated users often dropping off the website. This is an all too common occurrence, but there are some steps you can take to alleviate these drop-offs:
  • Ask users to login or register only when necessary Those parts of a website that aren't personalised should be equally accessible by registered and non-registered users. Only ask people to login or register when it's required to complete an action, not earlier.
  • Make registration optional where possible Customers shouldn't have to 'create an account' in order to buy products from an online shop. If a site needs to remember simple previously entered information, this can also be done by using a cookie, which of course requires no effort from the end user.
  • Prominently explain the benefits of registration Users will be happier to register if they know that they're getting something useful, rather than if registration is seen as a barrier between them and their task.
  • Avoid lengthy registration forms Another source of frustration comes from questions in registration forms that look irrelevant to the task in hand. Remove such questions and explain the rest e.g. "We need your phone number to notify you in case your flight times change."
  • Consider progressive registration This means asking only the bare essentials in the beginning (e.g. an email address and a password), and enabling users to update and complete their full profile at a later stage.

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