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Almost all the content on my webapp/site is visible only after the viewer has logged in. But, when a user shares a piece of content with someone (who may or may not be a user of the app), that someone receives a link, and expects that clicking on the link will show them the content.

So I need to balance two needs - 1) the assumption (please confirm if this is valid) that directly showing content on clicking a shared link is better UX and 2) the app itself needs to be behind a login/sign-up wall.

What are some good approaches to go about this?

I should also note that for people who aren't yet users, the signup process is extremely simple and almost the same as logging in: there are 3 fields - name, email, password, fill them up, touch the button and you are directly signed up and logged in. So no confirmation links, etc.

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Since the signup process is extremely simple, you can first grant non-users of the app access to a part of information that was shared with them and then add a sign/up or login screen before they can view the remaining part of the information.

That way you can guarantee that only users would still be able to view all contents on the webapp.

Out of experience, you can also make the signup or login process very interactive so it does not appear compulsive for good UX.

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    A common example of this is what both Medium and NYTimes do. They allow the user to see/read/preview "x" pieces of content, while showing a prompt to signup; and after a user has exhausted his/her free previews, the user is directed to the registration/sign up page. – Anson W Han Oct 22 '19 at 18:16

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