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I'm curious to know how requiring certain pieces of personal information affect a user's likelihood to register on a website and opt-in to receive communications. Is there some "amount," of personal info where it becomes a significant deterrent for most people? At what point will people begin to abandon the registration process due to making personal information required? Any studies/articles are also appreciated.

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3 Answers 3

Ask as much as you need to and as little as you can afford to.

The more information a user has to give up, the more work it required of them to register and thus the completion rate goes down. Asking irrelevant things will also increase the feeling that your application is trying to accumulate data on the user rather than asking things that will make their experience better.

The above has served me, personally, as a good guideline. Never ask anything that you do not absolutely need. If age is irrelevant, don't require it. If your website mails users items, you will need an address. If your users don't need a nickname, don't ask for one. If you need the shoe size only if user that buy shoes, ask only those that buy shoes and not everyone. Ask as little as you can - you can always enhance the user profiles later or offer voluntary fields user can fill in their profiles.

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Thanks Kontur. Do you know of any studies/blogs/resources that might describe how much information is too much? For example, at n = 3 items of personal info, people will drop off at xx% rate? I realize that's not the best way to phrase things, and is a bit vague. –  Jonathan Rubinstein Jan 29 '13 at 14:22
    
As I said, it's more of a personal take on the matter - which has served me well so far. I am pretty sure I have read articles hinting towards same conclusions, but I couldn't find any in my bookmarks. I'll update, if I unearth it, though. –  kontur Jan 29 '13 at 19:43
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Not sure how relevant this is to your question depending on the site, but it may help.

How much information should you ask for when users register?

However, from my experience, less is always more. Especially when it comes to registration.

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Thanks Chris. Do you know of any studies/resources that might illuminate when people might start dropping off? I realize that's probably too vague, but I'm not sure how else to phrase it. –  Jonathan Rubinstein Jan 29 '13 at 14:21
    
I haven't found any direct studies that correlate length of registration to drop off rates. I would assume there are many variables to consider from type of site, layout of forms, sensitivity of information provided, etc. If you have a particularly large form that "has" to be entered, there's no reason why the user can't do this later on. This approach is called "Lazy Registration" which is becoming increasingly popular. –  Chris N. Jan 29 '13 at 17:52
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It's not a binary issue. We know that the more information you request, or the longer your forms are, the higher your fall off rate will be.

My recommendation is to ask for as little information as possible in the sign up stage, and then try to encourage people to fill in additional information in their profiles later on.

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