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I'm designing a login form and wondering if the header and footer on the page get in the way of logging in.

Maybe I'm being too fussy, but wondering if removing the primary navigation links from the header would help focus on the log in form. Why would you go to a log in form and them link away from it - OR - should I provide options, besides the back button, to link away?

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Many websites today use a pop-up, or even let you log in directly from the homepage. I don't see the point in a dedicated page for a login. –  Dvir Adler Aug 9 '13 at 15:57
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think the removal of primary navigation could actually break the continuity and require user to reset their understanding of nav. But if everything remains the same , they'll just focus on what has changed which is the login form.

I would rather suggest that login not be a separate page and it should just open in the page the user is in - as a modal. It'll be faster to load and it'll offer greater continuity.

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What about Mobile users? Modal alerts require absolute positioning on screen, and that's not really something that works well on a Mobile screen - the user would end up having to chase the modal box around the screen whenever they zoom in to use it. That's not the best UX. Modal windows are also a problem from an accessibility point of view. For instance you need to get the focus correct, you have to ensure that you announce to the user that a new area of content has become available... Modal windows are not always the best route to take. –  JonW Aug 12 '13 at 9:32
    
Don't forget the actual nav of a website may or can change when a user is logged in (e.g. sites such as Harvest getharvest.com , Facebook, Twitter, etc.) –  Jeroenem Aug 12 '13 at 10:15
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I find "not distracting users" is a pretty weak excuse for removing parts of the fundamental structure of a page/site.

If people indeed do get "distracted" at the login form, it only means that the interface is not guiding them properly. E.g. wrong sizes, colors, placement, not making clear what the expected/proper action is. You have two choices, really:

  • Design a clearer, more inviting, more guiding login page
  • Force people to curse under their breath and login, hoping to get their navigation back.

If people click away from the login page because they think "Darn, I should also check that other menu before I get in", then you shouldn't name this "a distraction". It simply means your visitors were not yet ready to engage with your site on a more personal level -- which is what a login form does.

I hope it's now clear which choice I recommend :) As to using a modal, if you do it that way, make sure to give people an obvious way to cancel the login/close the modal.

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There's definitely a case for stripping back the UI to focus the user on the single action of signing in. You only have to look at big players such as Google, Yahoo, and ebay to see that they have stripped out headers and footer navigation to funnel their users through the log-in process.

Another approach which maintains the focus on a single sign-in action while also allowing easy access to other options is to use a lightbox overlay for the sign-in form. John Lewis do a great job of this - see image below.

enter image description here

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