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Our current registration form is too long and some fields should be cut off. In other hands all most of these are looking important excepting 'Tell us something about yourself'.

Currently used fields are:

  • User
  • Password
  • Company
  • Home Page
  • Title
  • Position
  • Name
  • Surname
  • e-mail
  • Phone
  • Country
  • State/Province
  • City
  • Zip/Postal
  • Address

Which ones you recommend to drop?

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10  
What do you need the information for? We can't decide for you which information you need in your business. –  André Oct 16 '12 at 13:01
3  
Email address and password definately –  Captain Oct 16 '12 at 14:14
1  
Sort of offtopic, but have you considered a single sign on option like OpenID, LinkedIn, or Facebook? This provides your users with a fast way to register and may provide you with info about that person. –  Freiheit Oct 16 '12 at 15:24
    
If you really feel you need all of it, you can take out state and city and determine those from the postal code. –  jonshariat Oct 16 '12 at 18:20
1  
@jonshariat Not in Ireland –  Marco Oct 16 '12 at 20:07
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10 Answers

up vote 38 down vote accepted

All of them except "e-mail" and "Password".

This is the minimum information you need to uniquely identify a user and allow them secure access to your site. The only other piece of vital information would be their address if you were shipping them something - but you can ask for that when they actually order something and not before.

All of the other ones can be asked for on the user's profile page and you can do things like offer rewards (badges like Stack Exchange) or simple nagging (like LinkedIn) for filling them out.

The important part is to get the user to sign up. Once you have done this, then you can encourage them to fill out all the information your sales and marketing department wants.

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If your goal is to get a user to sign up, the fewest fields necessary to have a unique ID, is the right number, like ChrisF said. I'll say this, look at the way LinkedIn does things, they nag you in a very Game Theory way to complete your profile ("Enter this info to get 5% closer to being complete!") –  Bryan Robinson Oct 16 '12 at 14:02
    
I agree with the majority of this, but I think it should definitely just be email/password (not email or username). Usernames are basically only useful as display names, since email addresses are easier to remember for signing in (since you have the same one on every site). –  Brendan Long Oct 16 '12 at 15:19
    
@BrendanLong - good point. I'll update the answer –  ChrisF Oct 16 '12 at 15:21
1  
I'm gonna one up ChrisF and say drop all of them period and use third party auth ;) making e-mail and password optional if they don't have/can't use twitter, fb, linkedin, etc. –  Mike Brown Oct 16 '12 at 20:07
1  
Add OpenID support and you can even get rid of one more field. –  l0b0 Oct 16 '12 at 20:28
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It all depends on the service that you provide, but the best way is to allow the user to input as less information as possible, then more users would register.

Amazon does it quite well, email and password. The rest of information is provided only when the user decided to buy the product.

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I can understand that sometimes people from particular departments ask for additional data for the new signups. This is usually the case for B2B services in which marketing and sales people directly contact every new customer, so they need the data to weight leads and to call potential customers.

The easy approach is to have a long signup form.

The more difficult one, but eventually more effective, would be to have a very short signup form, get more signups and let sales people weight leads through other processes.

Another technique, like mentioned by other answers here, is to push the user for profile completeness after the signup. In my opinion, the award-winning example of this practice is Linkedin, with their "Profile Completeness" percentage-bar.

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even for B2B services, you can force the other data you need from the user after he uses the UI for a bit: "To continue using the X, you need to complete the account details here..." –  Adrian Oct 16 '12 at 14:10
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Looks like you are getting new people to register with you for the first time. It also would be safe to assume you have not, at this point, sold them anything.

Therefore the only pieces of information you need to gather are their email address, that's it. Optionally their name so you can personalise emails, but all the rest is, at this stage, irrelevant.

The more fields a new user has to complete in order to register, the fewer will actually register.

That's why some places only ask for an email address, not even a name, because adding the requirement to give a name does actually reduce the number of people who will sign up.

Remember, at this stage they know very little about you, you have not yet built up trust, they have no reason to give you the extra information you are seeking. The more information you ask for upfront, the more it becomes clear to the user that you are merely gathering all their data so you can use it. They see no benefit to them, so why would they want to hand the information over?

Get their email address and optionally their name (and, if it is a secure service, a password - note that you don't need all three, email and password will do just fine), and that's it.

Then, once they are registered with you, then you can start to build trust, you can let them see that you are someone they want to form some sort of a relationship with, and then when it is relevant you can request the necessary extra information and they will be happy to hand it over (e.g. postal address when they have bought something physical from you, etc).

Remember, it is never about what information you want, it is only ever about why the user or customer or prospective customer would want to give you their information. If they have no incentive, why would they do it? If they have not yet established a trusting relationship with you, they won't give the information and you will l

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We had a similar scenario in our team. Like others have pointed out here, we went on to remove all fields except email/password. The conversion rate has improved about 60% now.

Also, if you are planning to go this route, then you might want to consider giving a seamless experience between login/registration to your users. A separate form or page for registration gets less visits. If you keep it just as a section in the header, users are more likely to use it. There is another question in UX where people have discussed the idea of coming up with a single section for both login and registration. You might want to look it up as well. All the best.

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If you use the email as username and then leave the registration form with email, password and telephone number you could save a lot of fields there, but still have the minimum information in case you need to contact the user. Including Name and Surname would be still smaller.

And if you really need the rest of the data, what you can do (although it would involve more work) is create an additional form where you send your users when they log in for the first time, once registered.

Hope that helps...

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The goal behind a registration form is to gather information, however, you don't want the registration forms sheer size drive away your customers. The bare minimum is Email address and a password, however I would include a name, since sending emails with someones name on it is more formal and a lot more respectively than saying the persons email address.

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I cannot agree with the other answers, as I don't think that all possibilities can be lumped together so easily. As already pointed out in the question's comments, it's all about what you want to do and when you ask for the data.

  1. If you need an identifier for the user to use your service, taking email and password AND OpenID logins like Facebook, Google and Twitter is key. Many people learnt that just clicking the blue FB button is what works best and what even works without hard-to-remember passwords (like 123456).
  2. If you want to make money, it can be a whole different story based on your business model. We at http://www.abelssoft.net have a lot of free Windows tools that you can download for free, or that you can buy as full version and test for free in a reduced version. The free and test versions need you to register for newsletter marketing, which you can turn off anytime. Nevertheless, this is a completely different situation. First, the user already decided he's going to try something out, and downloads and installs it. After this, giving an email, first and lastname is not too hard, which we want to be able to address the user in a mailing, which might give a better ROI on average. Even if we like it when it's filled out, we don't enforce it and the fields can be left empty. Additionally, in this situation, we don't even need a password, as the user doesn't log in anywhere.
  3. http://www.instapaper.com also began with allowing the signup by only asking for an e-mail address or username because the service only needed an identifier to know under which ID to store the scraped text. (In the meantime it was changed that because users forgot their usernames and it was too confusing for users.)

After all, it's obvious that you should only ask for the minimum data that you need or aim to have upfront.

I would also like to add briefly that you should avoid ambiguity even if you ask for the data later. Having both a username and an email address can be confusing, so I would either use only an email adress or rename the username to "screen name" or "display name". Name / surname can also be improved by using first name / surname, so no user puts in their whole name into name and is irritated on the next field that he is supposed to separate the information. Also address can conflict with a lot of the other geodata.

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You are confusing the registration form with the profile/account details. The former should have the minimum required to uniquely identify people and allow them to log on securely. The profile is the place to gather the marketing led and demographic data. You should use gaming theory to encourage people to fill out all the information you require. –  ChrisF Oct 16 '12 at 20:33
    
I'm only talking about profile info in the last paragraph. What makes you think I confuse the two? –  Akku Oct 16 '12 at 20:48
    
Your second point (to me) reads as "if you want to make money you need to put more fields on your registration form". –  ChrisF Oct 16 '12 at 20:50
    
Well I didn't write that. Maybe read again? Note that we don't take or want or even accept any other additional data than first name and surname additional to the email and also note that in 2. I'm not talking about a webservice. –  Akku Oct 16 '12 at 20:53
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It depends. The more information you ask for up front, the fewer people will fill out and submit the registration form.

So for each and every field, ask yourself, "is this field so important that I am willing to lose sign-ups because of it?" If the answer is yes, keep it; if the answer is no, drop it (preferred) or make it optional.

Also, keep in mind that some fields are more personal than others and will cause more drop-outs than others. For example, I almost never fill out a registration form that asks for my phone number unless it's optional and I can leave it blank.

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I assume that you want to increase the registration rate, so I suggest to keep only the necessary fields that will enable you to communicate with your users following a successful registration (for example in order to upgrade their account).

It's known that as the number of form fields increases, conversion rates decrease-see the graph below.

I recommend to read this post convering the issue: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/6746/Which-Types-of-Form-Fields-Lower-Landing-Page-Conversions.aspx

enter image description here

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