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I am trying to find a good way to design my registration form. I have looked at the idea of having multiple steps for the form. Or using a tabular layout. Both of pros and cons. I am wondering which approach is easiest for the user.

I want to make the user experience easy for users. I know from an earlier post that not to include information that is not vital to the registration processes. I guess the pros of having multi step form is that it is only shows some information on the screen but then the argument could be used for tabs because there is only a keyword at the top of each of the tabs.

I should include that the registration page includes a subscription registration. Would this occur after you had registered with simple information.

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Answer accepted just one hour after the question was posted? Granted, ChrisF's response is good, but shouldn't we wait until others have had a chance to reply? –  Jimmy Breck-McKye May 21 '12 at 13:04
    
If the poster is happy with the answer he received then I don't see why he should keep it open for much longer. I see your point, but ultimately if he is happy, he's within his right to close the question, right? –  Liam Spencer May 21 '12 at 15:57
    
@LiamSpencer - that's certainly true for questions that fit straight into a Q&A format, where an answer could be judged as 'right', even without other later contributions, but I'm not sure this is one of them. –  Jimmy Breck-McKye May 21 '12 at 16:49
    
@JimmyBreck-McKye - The user is free to change the accepted answer at any point if a better answer comes along. –  ChrisF May 22 '12 at 7:38
    
I can’t find the reference (something like "the button that saved $50 million"), but it reminds me of the website redesign where the user ‘registered’ only once he’d decided to buy something and entered his name & address details – and that was used as his Registration - nice and sensible. –  Phil Parry Jun 29 '12 at 15:29

3 Answers 3

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Neither.

Registration should be a one step process that just asked for the absolute minimum information you need to be able to distinguish one user from another. The goal of the sign up process is to be as frictionless as possible so that the user doesn't get put off and go somewhere else.

In the vast majority of cases that's e-mail address and password - two (or three if you want them to repeat the password) fields. You might want to include an "I am over the minimum age" checkbox as well. Any more than this and you'll put people off registering even if they want the services that come with registration.

You can simplify this process even further by allowing your users to sign up using OpenID or OpenAuth - e.g. sign up using their Facebook or Twitter account.

If the sign up is part of the process for the user subscribing to a non e-mail based service then asking for one or two pieces of information (such as a mobile phone number) would be OK as it makes sense and can be accommodated on a single page.

Then once they've signed up and confirmed their e-mail you can have a profile page that has tabs or subpages for all the information you'd like them to provide.

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thank you a very good answer –  Alexander May 21 '12 at 11:54
    
I agree with this answer for the most part. Though I think it's worth pointing out that in the real world, sometimes you need more information than the "absolute minimum information you need to be able to distinguish one user from another". They may be registering for a service for which they need to provide an address or phone number for the service to actually be of any use (e.g. a service like Postcrossing, or an SMS-related service...). Sure, in these cases you could defer these details to a 'profile' page, but that means essentially splitting the registration process up unnecessarily. –  Liam Johnston May 21 '12 at 21:13
    
@LiamJohnston - Good point. In which case you could use the mobile number as the unique identifier - but it does make the user verification slightly more complicated. –  ChrisF May 22 '12 at 7:36
    
@Alexander also consider allowing your users to register with openID. I've been on sites that I haven't registered for because they didn't allow me to register with openID. –  jpsstavares Jun 29 '12 at 15:47

See it depends on How Much information you want to capture.

Say you have lot of details to be asked, go for pagenation. Put few content and some images per page and proceed.

Incase you just need to capture fewer details, try fitting them in one page itself.

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Registration should capture only the minimum required details. But if you want to still capture more details, then you could get them first confirm their email id. The other details that you would like to capture could be done say from their profile page or say the account page.

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