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I'm in the the process of creating a registration form for a company where (quite a lot!) of information is required from the user, but I want to make it as painless as possible, while still being successful with obtaining the information from the user.

I've considered several options to deal with this problem and would love your thoughts as to which solutions is the most preferable.

This is what I had in mind:

1. 'Small' registration form only asking for e-mail and password followed, by either:

a) User lands on a dashboard page with some stats related to his account, where one of them would be 'x% of profile complete' which links to the profile page.

b.) User lands directly on his/her profile page, with the message asking for additional info and the 'missing' fields are somehow highlighted.

2. 'Medium' sized form asking for some more (but not all information) with more fields additional to e-mail and password (i.e name, city, country, etc)

a) Same steps as above the collect the additional info.

Thanks in advance!

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1  
Some useful (possible duplicate) posts - ux.stackexchange.com/questions/27840, ux.stackexchange.com/questions/691 and ux.stackexchange.com/questions/6133/… - Basically, ask for as little as possible. The more fields you have the more users will not even bother signing up. Would you rather have lots of users knowing just their email address (so you'll still be able to contact them and provide a service), or a few users where you know their entire life story? –  JonW Apr 2 at 11:30
    
Hi and thanks for the quick reply! Agree, I definitely prefer the 'small' form, only asking for i.e e-mail and password. The thing is that we need additional information as well, and I'm not sure which of the above mentioned methods (or any other method) is the best to use, without being intrusive. –  Mumas Apr 2 at 11:58
    
But what do you really need that information for? I mean, really? What will happen with it? Is just having an email address completely useless? Having someone voluntarily give you their email address is a very powerful action. You can do a lot with an email address. I'd rather have 10 'warm' contacts than 1 'hot' one. –  JonW Apr 2 at 12:04
    
I'm afraid I can't go very far into details, but imagine an approach similar to LinkedIn. The more information a user submits, the more value for him/her and other users when i.e networking and searching for each other. –  Mumas Apr 2 at 12:10
    
1) i prefer, i hate having to fill in loads of information and it seems to be the pattern lots of the start ups are using to reduce road blocking the user. For me, if you remove it at the top end you remove the friction of the user in adding it to the profile as for me a profile is something you take ownership of (mentally anyway) –  Modika Apr 2 at 14:58

3 Answers 3

up vote 0 down vote accepted

Making a well designed on- boarding wizard kind of flow (lots of forms up front with the option to skip) can be very useful not just in collecting info but in guiding a user through the app. If you ask me for my college alma mater, for instance, you're also showing me that alma mater is important to a good experience on the platform.

It can double as an explanation of the value of your network/platform/application.

On boarding with instagram for instance includes both a list of suggested users to follow and a "find your friends" feature. They could just dump you into your feed (fewer forms, faster time to the experience) but your experience would be terrible.

So I think forms up front can be done well if they assist with the overall experience.

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With all these good suggestions, consider two factors:

1. Incentive

What incentive is driving your user to complete the form? This is directly proportional to the number of fields you can get completed. If the incentive is low (i.e., trial of a new, untested product), have few fields (1-3). If the incentive is high (i.e., registering to attend a high-priced event, buying an airline ticket), you can have many more fields before they fatigue.

The psychology behind this: "If I don't fill out this form, I don't get the product." The strength of that incentive can make a big difference in how the form is experienced.

2. Moment of need

How far can you put off asking for the bulk of the information, or indeed anything at all? The more unencumbered, easy use the product gets, the more invested the user becomes, based on their own needs and interests. Can you walk them through experiencing a key benefit of the product before you need any information? Once you do need something in order to proceed, or to unlock a second key benefit, the reason for filling out the form will be more understood and accepted.

For the record, I would not buy in on your 1-a solution above. I surmise that is a lot of development effort for an antiquated experience. Best to build expected modal blocks into the experience right when the information is necessary, and the incentive is at its peak.

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+1 for mention of Moment of Need –  Pdxd Apr 10 at 18:18

How about showing user multiple small-ish forms in a series to fill out your big form, the little forms' questions should be in reasonable group. eg: personal info, contact details, etc... Let the user fills in the crucial information and give them option to skip other part to do later.

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Thanks for your reply! I've thought about that possibility as well. I.e just asking for e-mail & password to sign up, but then present the user with several smaller forms (personal details, contact details etc) which they can skip, once logging in. VS Making the sign up form 'larger', but divided into i.e 4 small steps (skippable?). What worries me is how to encourage users to fill out the rest of the information using the first option, but I guess if the expected value of the product is perceived as higher if they provide more information, it shouldn't be an issue... or..? :-) –  Mumas Apr 11 at 6:42

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