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I am wondering if the common sign up strategy shared by almost all websites is always the best:

  1. Provide username
  2. Provide password and e-mail or mobile number
  3. Provide more information and confirm e-mail or mobile phone

I was thinking about tracking the users and let them interact with the website just as if they were subscribed. I was thinking to track their session by many ways in order to be almost (99%+) sure about who is using the site and so I am able to already create a user account on my server without the user knowing it.

I call it the progressive account creation:

  1. On first connection, I track the user's session
  2. The user can visit the website just as if they were loggedin
  3. When the user wants to perform an action that requires a specific data, there will be a form asking for this specific data.
  4. At some point they will enter all info (name, e-mail, mobile...) but they will only do it when they need it

I have three questions:

Do you see any major drawback on this approach?

Why isn't it used at all ?

Are there other improvements to be done to legitimate this approach ?

  • 2
    What if the user clears the cookies or use other computer, how do you know it's the same user, before you start asking him specific data? – Joao Carvalho Apr 26 '17 at 9:38
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From your approach, I think that the idea of not asking the user to make an account before using the website is a great advantage for the user.

So I am able to already create a user account on my server without the user knowing it.

The way that you are implementing it, for me, has some ethical issues. Somewhere the user should give a kind of consent for keeping their information on your server.

My suggestion:

  1. Track your user in your first session
  2. Let them navigate into your website, create something
  3. If they are satisfied, ask them to create an account in order to save their work/preferences etc.

In this way,

  • you are going to avoid the issue of the user changing computer, cleaning their data.
  • the user will give their consent in saving their data
  • the user will feel more empowered because they will make a choice of creating an account
  • the user will not feel crept because an account has been created without asking for it
  • their data will remain private and not based only on the browser since a lot of different people might use the same browser on the same computer
  • Upvoted. Also it's a good way to understand more in detail if your product is creating the value that the user expects. If he/she sign up in the end, there's a higher chance that he is more engaged with the product. – Joao Carvalho Apr 26 '17 at 12:11
  • Yes that's the idea I had. I am wondering why this is not used more often then. Do we have some example? – Leths Apr 26 '17 at 12:17
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Do you mean you want to ask info on the second or later visit?

As Joao Carvalho mentioned in the comments, you can't be really sure it's the same person. What if same user logs in from another machine / device?

I would try provide functionality without requiring to login. Depending on your site here are some options:

  • Guest checkout (e.g. e-commerce)
  • Anonymous page like in CodePen
  • Register/login with social networks: it's easier than regular email flow, but more reliable than proposed solution.
  • The idea was that the user could officially subscribe by providing his email/mobile or a combo password/username, or a social signin (like google facebook) at any time, but if the user doesn't do it, I will store a cookie client side and all the user agents, in order to maximize the chances of retrieving the data. Your proposals are different from what I state on the question but thanks for sharing your ideas – Leths Apr 26 '17 at 12:20

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