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I'm not sure if I phrased that right, so perhaps my specific case will explain for me. I have buttons for "fave"-ing and marking-as-solved on puzzles in my blog. The users that know the features exist love tracking what they have or haven't solved yet, but I routinely get visitors that had no idea the features were there. The buttons are faded to show their disabled status, but I think that may be contributing to missing those features.

What can I do to make those features more prominent while still showing that they are disabled unless you're logged in?

One of the pages: http://thegriddle.net/719

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Took me quite a while to notice the buttons.

Try moving the Create an Account information you have below the puzzle to the right side of the puzzle. Since the right hand column (subscription, etc.) might be interesting to someone who is signed up, rather than a stranger. Make the reasons for account creation clearer and prominent, also, since you are using just email,pass,username to signup; add those things right there rather than having the user click on signup and going to another page. It simplifies and speeds up the registration. You can have a "tell me more" "why should I signup" link if you want to explain more benefits.

Also, the fonts you are using on the green button are difficult to read. The shadow does not seem to be helping the legibility.

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Offer the buttons regardless of whether a user has the privilige to use them.

When a non-priviliged user clicks one, bring up a pop-up, thanking them for wanting to use it and offer them the way to get the privilige to actually do so.

For example all StackExchange sites allow you to click vote buttons. When you are not logged in they bring up a pop-up to thank you for wanting to participate; tell you that in order to do so you need to log in and offer the buttons etc to do so, including the creation of an account, and an option to just go back.

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