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I am bit confused on which approach to take, the issue is we have 2 major sections, one is asking for user profile information - just 4 optional fields and the other is about user preferences to receive specific newsletters based on the preference selected.

My question is it worth dividing the form into a multiple step progressive approach when all the fields we require the user to fill fit in a single page and for most of the browsers in the first scroll. In the past when we moved to a single pager from a progressive approach for a business directory we got a 15-20% increase in the conversion.

The flow is: User enters information just email and name and signs up for a news letter. After successful sign up, should we present: 1. A single page having both the sections profile info(4 fields) and preferences OR 2. 2-3 steps dividing profile, password and preference into 3 steps

Is it worth dividing a single step into 2-3 steps just for 4 optional extra fields ???

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3 Answers 3

When you divide a form into steps, there will always be users who don't complete all steps ("Why do you ask so much information, I don't have time for this"), as well as others who feel that, since they already spent some time and energy filling step 1, they should continue and fill the next step too, otherwise the work for step one would be lost. (Typical "sunken cost" fallacy). It seems you have more of the first type of users :)

That said, a multi-page form lowers the cognitive load in each single page, but has an added complexity and time of clicking "Next Step", as well as a "I wonder how long this will take" feeling for the user. You need to balance the lower cognitive load versus this increased time. For your short form it seems a single page would be enough. Coupled with optional fields, it should be a good solution.

Lastly, what kind of preferences can your users set? Can you do this after the email confirmation?

E.g.

  • Step 1: user signs up with email and name
  • Step 2: system sends an email with a confirmation link
  • Step 3: user clicks on link to verify his email
  • Step 4: on the verification page system says "Welcome, your email is now confirmed, care to tell us a bit more about you?" and shows the preferences/profile info form.

This would leave control with the user; additionally it would be perceived as two different, shorter forms as opposed to one single long form.

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If you have optional information (that's still of value to you / them - otherwise I'd suggest looking to scrap it), you don't want to make it more laborious for the user to fill it in. If they're shown a page simply with optional information, they're far more likely to quit out.

I'd recommend either keeping it as a single page or rethinking your optional information. Would it be of value to make any of it mandatory?

Also, if your main goal is to get them to sign up for newsletters then why not turn the optional page into an email call to action to be sent either with their subscription confirmation or at a later date with a nurturing CTA to encourage them to come back and fill it out via their profile?

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Form filling tasks are familiar for users and not complex (in your case). Steps are the mean to divide hard/complex tasks to smaller/easier ones. So steps could force users to think and assess the task as more complex than it is.

Optional fields make the task easier, as user could simply ignore it. So don't break the flow into steps.

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