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I am building a website (non-commerce) that relies heavily on user's location and user's preferences.

Think of it as a map where you want to see where your friends are, closest events you might attend AND your preference is to go only to certain events and meet certain types of people.

In a nutshell here is the entire signup process:

Step #1

  1. Email (input)
  2. Password (input)
  3. Location (map) is guessed (displayed automatically on the map and city/country are auto populated) OR the user can drag an icon on the map to select their location.

Step #2

  1. User receives confirmation email with a confirmation link
  2. Goes to confirmation page with a form which also asks for his/her preferences

Does this seem like a good experience? Can it be improved? If yes, how?

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2 Answers

This seems like a fairly rational approach. Without more details its hard to offer a lot of feedback here. However, you may want to consider the following:

  • Is email confirmation strictly needed? You'll end up with a lot more junk entries, but you'd get a much smoother user flow if the new account logged right in. You could also do the Facebook thing and let them log in, but keep a bar at the top asking for confirmation to allow access to some features.
  • How are you asking for preferences? Is it one long form, or can a user give you as much data as they are comfortable? Is it possible to stop in the middle and then come back? You might look at Bizzy as an example of this- they want you to answer a bunch of questions, but you're allowed to skip them and also answer more later if you want.
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1. I agree that without confirmation the user experience will be smoother. On the other hand removing spam might be difficult. 2.Currently everything is on one page. My next step is to break it down into few forms but I didn't consider a "skip" button - good idea. Bizzy looks interesting. Thanks for the link! –  Eeyore Apr 22 '11 at 14:15
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Since you haven't specified the audience of your site I will suggest a rather innovative approach.

The general idea behind it is to remove all obstacles between the user and your website.

Simply ask for email address only. Once submitted let the user know that to continue the registration they need to follow the link in the email you sent them. This way you establish a communication layer with your user.

Once the link is clicked login the user automatically with a temp password generated by your system. Then ask for the information incrementally. For example, let the user know that they can set a password, but don't enforce it. As your application has to do with user location you can ask to pick one once they are searching or browsing an appropriate section of your web site which requires it. Once they find your website useful they will be interested in providing more information.

The above approach will engage the user with your website without the daunting profile forms.

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