The only thing standing between your users and an awesome online experience is often a registration form. There’s a delicate balance between getting relevant information about your users and giving them a frictionless entry into your experience. Here are some tips you can use to help build the best registration process for your users (and minimize drop-off for yourself!):
Keep users in the loop
If you’re asking users for their personal information (which can be as basic as their name or as personal as their credit card number), be sure to explain why you’re asking and what the benefit is to them. For example, asking for a credit card number to complete an e-commerce transaction gives the user an obvious benefit. Asking for the user’s birthday in the same transaction is less clear. By explaining what you’ll be using the information for, you can establish a sense of trust. The same also holds true when asking the user for permissions including accessing their device’s photos, Facebook account, or email contacts.
Guide users toward your preferred action
Users tend to take the path of least resistance when completing a registration form. It is substantially easier for them to choose a pre-selected option than to read and evaluate a list of choices. This gives you the opportunity to guide users toward the option you want them to choose, such as a more expensive add-on to a free product. However, if not done properly, it can erode the user’s trust if the default option chosen is contrary to their best interests. For example, requiring users to opt out of your mailing list rather than opt in will create resentment for your brand when you spam them with newsletters. Canadian businesses should note that the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation prohibits websites from pre-checking a newsletter opt-in checkbox.
Let users know when they’re doing the right thing
It can be hard to tell if you’re filling out a form correctly, especially if a form is long and the fields are only validated upon submission. It’s especially disheartening to submit a form and then see a bunch of fields turn red when you thought you were done. Validating fields on a basic level as a user progresses through the form gives them a sense of confidence that they are doing the right thing and encourages them to keep going. More complex validation (such as credit card number validation) can be done upon form submission, but having basic validation (such as correct number of characters) on each form field helps eliminate user error and reduce drop-off.
Stay tuned for Part 2
Wanna know more about how to improve your registration forms? Check back for Part 2 where you can learn about increasing users’ investment, using progress indicators, and writing compelling copy for your registration forms.