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I've been reading this usability book and it says that the sign up page must be as free of noise as possible and some websites seem to be doing similar things (Last.fm for example).

Here's how it looks on my website; is the header / footer required for such a page, or does it constitute noise and therefore should be removed?

My current one:

http://broadcasted.tv/sign-up/

A less noise, cleaned up one:

http://broadcasted.tv/newsignup.php

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What specifically do you mean by 'noise' in this particular situation? Noise can refer to lots of situations. Your links both go to the same looking form except one doesn't have a site header on it - is what you're asking more specifically: "should I remove the site header from a sign-up page"? –  JonW Aug 28 '13 at 14:19
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

"Noise" is quite a relative term. It looks like your approach was to remove the header and the footer. While it does appear to have fewer items to look at ("noise") you've also reduced the number of usable thinks on the page. In the old "signal-to-noise ratio" phrase you've reduced both numerator and the denominator and I would argue that the result is somewhat moot.

I think that the goal of your project should be to maintain a reasonable amount of information and usability while still reducing the noise. Try these...

  • Reduce the contrast between your header and footer, and your body bg.
  • Be consistent with your buttons and links. Colors clash and are too saturated.
  • Everything is aligned in the middle of the header. Because it's uncomposed there doesn't seem to be any visual hierarchy.
  • Use position to establish hierarchy and color and shape to reinforce it.
  • Don't waste visual space with redundant links in the header and footer. If you must include them in the header and the footer then treat them the same way.
  • If your logo is clickable to return to the home page, as most sites use, then don't bother with a "home" link in your footer. Use a smaller version of your logo if you must.
  • Links like "Features" don't belong in your footer, nor does "About". ... And what on earth is "What is this?". if they are signing up they already know what this is and you certainly don't want to draw them away from the registration page to reread your features list.
  • If you are going to bother with a "Contact" page then include some useful information otherwise just give them your email address in the footer.

Good luck.

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very useful advice, thank you very much. –  metareviewr Aug 28 '13 at 16:02
    
Happily. Good luck with your project. –  Scott Aug 28 '13 at 16:03
    
Thank you. What "What is this" link are you referring to there: "Links like "Features" don't belong in your footer, nor does "About". ... And what on earth is "What is this?". if they are signing up they already know what this is and you certainly don't want to draw them away from the registration page to reread your features list." –  metareviewr Aug 28 '13 at 16:04
    
That's strange. When I first looked at your existing signup page I remember 4 links in the footer. Now I only see the two. The general idea should still hold though - If you need a footer then it should be unobtrusive and useful. –  Scott Aug 28 '13 at 17:06
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