Weeks and months spent on developing great digital products can be easily derailed by a tiny issue in your signup flow.
But there’s good news as well: optimising sign up UI can boost your conversions back - one company managed to improve their conversion rate by 35% by simply reducing the number of fields in the sign up form.
For some reason even in 2020 there are still a bunch of sign up issues that are plaguing the UX world.
That’s why we’ve decided to collect all the common sign up mess-ups in this article. Hopefully you’ll have those fixed before losing one more customer.
Let’s dive in.
Every additional field in the sign up form adds friction to the whole user onboarding process, and that includes various confirmation fields.
That especially includes “Confirm your email” field where the majority of users simply end up copying the email from the first field anyway:
One could not even make a case for a “Type your password again” field for security reasons -- nowadays more and more passwords are automatically generated with either in-browser password suggestion tool or third-party services like 1Password:
A good example comes from Webflow where users are asked to type in email and password only once:
An even better example is when all the signup fields are within one page and you don’t have to go through multiple screens to finish your registration:
It’s a generally bad practice to overload new users with too much information, but when it happens within the first seconds of registration that’s even worse.
A poor example of error handling is when you showcase all the possible errors at once, leaving your user confused about what exactly they got wrong:
Another issue would be providing hints only after the user finished typing their password in:
The best way to ensure smooth UX is to provide hints on how strong the password should be during the type-in process:
Do you really need to know the ZIP code or date of birth of your new users right away? Even if you do need them sometime later in the process, bear in mind that every new field at the beginning of the signup process increases friction almost exponentially.
Back in 2008 Imagescape was able to boost signup conversion rate by 120% when they simply cut off seven fields from their 11-field contact form. The quality of submissions left unchanged.
Fast forward many years and some companies are still willing to risk their signup conversions by confusing their users with too many fields upfront.
Sometimes the effort is extreme with strange double field codes and what not:
If you want to get more data from your users, there are better ways to achieve that.
First, you can reframe the process of collecting data as a personalization step, as Webflow does. They framed this signup step as a poll:
At this point Webflow asks users for more information to personalize their experience [or at least it feels that way], and not to simply collect their data. The experience is not one-sided anymore.
Another workaround is progressive profile completion, or gamification, as LinkedIn does it:
By adding the progress bar and achievements, LinkedIn encourages new users to gradually fill their profile with new information. More importantly, at every step LinkedIn suggests how filling your profile improves user’s chances to find a job, which glues the whole onboarding process together.
Imagine how popular LinkedIn would become if they asked new users to fill a 25 field form at the beginning.
The debate on whether to force users to confirm their emails during the registration process or not has been going on for decades.
There’s no doubt that confirming a user's email in important for security reasons and as a way to battle bots and spoof accounts.
At the same time, email confirmation is an extra step that might scare away users that are not even sure they want to use your product.
Which gives us a collection of both bad and good sign up UX workarounds.
Let’s start with the bad ones.
Preventing users from even seeing what your product is about before they confirm their email is, conversion-wise, terrible.
The solution here is to delay the confirmation process until users have seen the value of your product. That’s called Deferred Account Creation and it can actually increase your “SignUp” to “First Key Action” rate by up to 100%.
Another magnificent trick from Growth.Design is to use Sniper Link technique that allows users to directly open your confirmation email from their browser. The technique entails a potential 7% improvement in conversions.
This is a tiny detail, but when we’re talking about the registration process, every detail matters.
No one reads terms of service. Probably not even people who write them. So every time people accept ToS for every new product and website, they make a leap of faith. And people have only so much faith.
Making them regularly tick the box is an added friction:
Instead, simply add a copy at the bottom indicating that users who sign up automatically agree to your Terms of Services. Don’t forget to include the link as well.
It goes without saying that dark UX patterns are bad for your business, but the danger here is more about inadvertently recreating them in your signup process.
If you want to create a paywall for your users and sign them up for a monthly subscription, make sure you clearly explain what your users are paying for and how much.
For example, in the past Litmus App didn’t show users how much they will be charged after the trial ends.
Other services don’t offer a clear explanation on when the next charge will be, and simply proceed charging every month without users expecting it. Intentional or not, similar practices always cause plummeting user loyalty rates and boost cancellations.
With so many competitors in every given niche, the practice of forced sign up becomes a bad practice in itself.
Why would someone bother signing up when a similarly working product is a few browser tabs away?
People love Canva for all the different reasons, but forced signup is not one of them.
Perhaps one reason why it stays that way is because its closest competitors, PicMonkey or Stencil, do the same:
At least Picmonkey “hints” at what’s behind the signup wall with the abstract workspace in the background
Is there a reason why Canva would not allow new users to play with its UI for a couple of minutes before the obligatory signup or log in? [other than that Canva is a market leader]
Squarespace allows users to build a whole website before even asking for their name:
Launchaco, its competitor, does the same:
Seems like as soon as one of the players in the field starts benefitting from delayed signup, the rest follow.
A decent sign up UI & UX is like a good book or a good movie: there is nothing unnecessary.
Carefully analyse your signup flow and spot if there’s an opportunity for improvement. Remember: even the smallest change can boost your conversion and satisfaction rates.