We are toying with having a user login so we can customise the experience for a specific website. However, I feel this comes at a cost.

My feeling is that this turns visitors off straight away as they have to jump through hoops to get to content, do others feel the same way?

One option we have considered is using Facebook connect, do any of you use FB connect and is it liked by your visitors?

  • Also see: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/691/…
    – giraff
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 14:40
  • @user7615 Welcome to UX.SE, David :-)
    – Jan
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 15:08
  • 4
    ... asks the person who doesn't fill out his profile name on registration⸮​ :)
    – deizel.
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 20:20

5 Answers 5


Of course it will turn away some visitors!


When somebody needs to register in order to use a site, he's asking himself additional questions, like:

  • Which informations do I have to give? How much time will it take me?
  • Which value does the website give me?
  • Is the value more than the effort I need?
  • Can I trust this site to keep my credentials secret?

These additional concerns increase the user's "cognitive load", that means, he has less "capacity" to do what he actually came to do on the site (even if this is just to explore what this site is about).


So, in order to avoid losing visitors:

  • Allow reading your site's content without login
    (recommended also because search engines can't log in)
  • Make clear what advantage a registered user has
  • Allow the user to register later on, when he got convinced of the site.
    (e.g. Lazy Registration Demo and more examples)

Facebook Connect (and OpenID, OAuth etc.) would take a bit of pain out of the registration process, but I'm not sure about which kind of/how many users use them - anyway, you would have to find out for your specific audience how many of them already have a Facebook account and used Facebook Connect at least once.


If it's only about customizing the experience (no personal/secret data or privileges, but rather display preferences, language etc.), a simple cookie may do.

  • I agree with the gist of this, and add: don't force registration if using existing credentials will work. Stack Exchange, for example, doesn't have its own registration process at all, but you can log in with credentials from Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and a bunch of others. I think users see that as less hassle than having to create a whole new account, with associated password to remember. Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 15:29
  • @MonicaCellio, StackExchange does have it's own OpenID now.
    – GUI Junkie
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 17:20
  • Just a note about using Facebook connect for login: Do not require any permissions. I see a tendency that many websites ask for various permissions to register: eg. your mail address, your likes, your contact list... When a site does this I click "X" immediately. Their goal is clear: building personal profile of you to target their spam.
    – Calmarius
    Commented Oct 24, 2013 at 10:34

My advice is avoid unless you absolutely have to, for example, for security reasons or validation. Like Giraff says, it places a barrier between the user and your content, an opportunity for the user to click away.

FB etc fast sign ins certainly make life easier but you still have to convince users why they should sign up in the first place.....

I must refer you to this excellent presentation by Luke Wroblewski:


(there's some swearing in it from the compere so NSFW maybe)

  • I'll take a look thanks - nsfw headphones are at the ready
    – user7615
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 9:45

And if you decide to use FB connect you have to offer a normal signup process, too. There are users out there who do not have a Facebook account or have one but don't want to connect their account to other sites. Since there is no standard way many companies offer a range of login-in options from FB to Google and OpenID like they do here on Stack Exchange.


I advice to have a login for comments, forums etc (both with your own and something like facebook-connect)

but for if you want to give them their own experience (as long as this doesnt consider to much personal details) you can just store the information without requiring them to log in.

You can generate a new id for every visitor and give him/her a cookie with that id. (ofcourse checking if they dont have one allready)

Now if you they for example choose a different color you simply say this user ID uses that color.

The next time the user comes back they still have that color!


Others have already pointed out how registration harms conversion, so I won't repeat what's already been said.

What I will say, though, is that if you will ask users to register, you should think hard about the information you really need to ask. If you just need location and age, just ask for those two metrics and an identifier. In fact, if you're happy using cookies, and the data isn't private, don't even ask for a personal ID. Just record the IP and store the data in a cookie.

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