I have a side project and I have made a simple homepage with a form where I need:

  1. user's email address
  2. some keywords which they are interested in.

enter image description here

I am noticing a problem here, people confuse this for to be a signup form and enter their email address and password (they obviously don't read the placeholder text).

This is a flaw in design since I am not able to convey the right information they need to pass.

I am thinking about:

  1. Adding autocomplete in the keywords field or
  2. Add an extra text on the right side of the text field like: Keywords:

But not sure which one will work better and if there is anything else I can do about it.
So, any suggestions on how can this be improved?


  1. This is a one page app, there is no "user registration" mechanism on the site for now.
  • 1
    To confirm: are users thinking this gives them a login to your site? Is this a finding you confirmed in user testing? Do you provide another form for joining your website, or not? Do you know how common the mistake is? Any info will help us answer your question more effectively. – Jimmy Breck-McKye Nov 1 '12 at 21:06
  • 2
    While @JimmyBreck-McKye asked some pertinent questions required to answer this question fully, at first glance, you may want to think about changing the 'continue' button to be more descriptive of the action the user is taking e.g. 'Subscribe'. This may not prevent all mistaken sign-up attempts, but it's a start. – Matt Nov 1 '12 at 21:11
  • No, there is no "registration page" on my site, this is a one page app. – zengr Nov 1 '12 at 21:32
  • Also, if you're using the HTML5 placeholder attribute to provide the placeholders for the input fields, make sure you also provide a JS solution as a fallback, as the placeholder attribute is not supported in IE, not even IE9, as far as I know, so perhaps some of your users don't even see the placeholders. – Victor Stanciu Nov 3 '12 at 7:27

By asking users to provide email you prime them to provide password since that is what usually goes after email right? Placing the label may not help; users are likely to skip reading anything because they think they "know" what goes after email. I would suggest trying reversing the fields. I would be very interested to know if it work during user testing.

enter image description here

  • This sounds like an easier fix (implementation wise) than what @Architect suggested. Although, I think Architect's answer is more "fool proof" – zengr Nov 1 '12 at 22:36

Based on the suggestions above, I ended up doing this.

enter image description here


  1. Email clearly stands out due to the icon
  2. Text field size is different, so people (hopefully) won't confuse this form for a login form.
  • 1
    It would great to know how it performs compared to you initial design. I think this option is better since in the 2-step process when the user has to provide email first, it is not clear for the user what the benefit of giving email is. In you current design it's clear. – Anna Rouben Nov 2 '12 at 19:53
  • I did usability test on 2 people, now they understand what to write in these 2 fields. I don't have a lot of traffic on my site to have some substantial data though. – zengr Nov 2 '12 at 20:47

I think its because users are used to writing their passwords right after their email address.

Right now the flow of action is
1) email 2) keyword 3) continue.

You could try changing it to
1) email 2) subscribe 3) keyword 4) continue

So basically letting the user give their email and subscribe. After subscription a new dialogue box for keywords and continue comes up.

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