In so many things you do online – bank, shop, play, etc. – you encounter some sort of registration and log in process. You might be ordering new ear buds from Amazon, checking on your 401-k or applying to become an Oscar Meyer weinermobile driver or Sports Illustrated body painting assistant.
In these and other instances, the registration and subsequent sign in experience has evolved to become relatively straightforward, consistent and near fool-proof (almost like ABC Signup). But with so many variations in our own experiences as registrants, we quickly pick up some things we like and don’t like in the registration and sign in process.
For instance, most of us prefer a registration form that’s well organized and fits on one (normal sized) page. We don’t want a form that asks for minimal information on each of multiple pages (like we’re incapable of handling it all at once), or a form that asks for so much information that the scroll bar is required. A hodge-podge of multiple required and non-required fields can trip up registrants. And, a form with data fields out of logical order tends to confuse the user and some auto-fill tools.
We enjoy sites that pat us on the back when we’ve completed that initial registration, whether via a confirmation e-mail or a thank you message on the page immediately after we clicked “submit,” “register” or “I can body paint.” Preferably, we get both types of confirmation.
We love the fact that most sites – after the initial set up and sign in – offer an option to remember our log in information. Those that don’t, typically for security reasons, usually offer a quick login/password recovery tool. Unfortunately, this in turn often requires creation of a new, even more forgettable password.
We prefer registration forms that work equally well with mobile devices and tablets. Again, simplicity is essential, as too many data fields won’t fit well on such devices. Also, we don’t like links or linked images placed near these fields, as some of us with bulbous fingertips tend to bump nearby links in the middle of the process and prematurely clear the form while jumping somewhere on the site we don’t really want to be.
We also like forms and sign-in pages that appear aesthetically pleasing yet 100% functional. With registration pages, form should follow function. Pages typically should look like the surrounding website. Over-design the form and you will run the risk of fewer registrations (“I must be on the wrong site”) or more erroneous submissions.
Finally, we expect registration and log in forms to work 100% of the time – on any browser and any platform. We really don’t like having to e-mail or call to report an issue and complete our submission – that’s part of the reason we were trying to do it online in the first place.
What are your preferences with regards to registration forms and log-ins? What do you like and dislike? We would greatly appreciate it if you would share your thoughts in the Comments section below.