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I'm grappling with the user registration experience for my application.

I'm considering this model:

  1. User enters...

    • Username
    • Password
    • Password confirmation
    • Email address
  2. The app displays a message saying "Please check your email to complete your registration" and sends them an email sort of like...

    Hi username.

    It appears that you would like to register for Useful Web Application.

    If so, please click this link to complete your registration:

    http://usefulwebapplication.com/reg_confirm/bxl46ehfe
    
  3. They click the link and it takes them to a page saying, "Thanks. You're registered."

But I'm wondering if that second step is necessary.

I've noticed that Instapaper just registers you and logs you right in with no confirmation email.

Should I skip confirmation emails?

The main reason I want users' emails is so I can send a "reset password" link if they forget their login info.

(In case it's relevant, this app isn't a forum or a social site. It's more of a software as a service utility type of thing.)

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3 Answers 3

I think users hate to verify their registration via email, I know I personally do.

For one thing, it's slower and takes more work. Users are lazy.

If this is done to make sure you receive a real email, an annoyed user can easily circumvent by using one of those temporary accounts (like mailinator). So it's pretty much useless..

If this is done to make sure the user hadn't misspelled their email, I think you can come up with better ways. For example, after registration show a quick message that registration was successful and that an email was sent to confirm that. Say that if the user did not receive a confirmation email, they should double check their email under their account settings. Of course, you should have an account settings page where users can view and edit their email address.

In addition, try to remember to login state (in a cookie for example if this is a web app) for at least 48 hours. So if the user did not receive a confirmation email, and they have closed the app, they would remain logged in and able to edit their email address in the account settings.

Another option is to ask for the email address twice (like the password), but I find this annoying as well.

I don't like the email validation messages (your email is not validated, and we will annoy you until it is), they are also super annoying.

If your service is paid for, I would encourage email validation since it should be a bit more robust in that case. But keep in mind that many payment gateways already rely on an email address (like PayPal) which you can assume to be correct without extra validation.

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Another option is to separate validating the email from "completing registration".

You allow people to complete registration, but keep a reminder that the email address hasn't been validated.

That way users can register and use the site without being blocked or distracted by having to visit their email account (which isn't always possible in some contexts).

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You need it for a simple reason so that you can ensure that people havent used someone else's email id to sign up for your service. Another reason for email verification is that people might identically enter their email wrong and an email verification steps helps them check that they had used the correct email to sign up.

An alternative approach you can use is to allow people to login once they sign up but keep a notification on top which informs them to verify their email addresses.

I dont recommend limiting functionality to ensure users verify their email,but you could keep a timer within which the user might verify his email to continue using the app.

Also provide them with a feature to update the email from your app just in case they accidentally entered the email wrong. This will ensure that they can update the email once signed in without having to recreate a new account.

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