We have a sign up form where we are trying to get those who sign up to our newsletter and hopefully continue to creating an account.

One of the requirements if for the users to add in their preferences.

I am of a mind to split it up into three seperate pages after signing them up for the newsletter.

  1. add password to create your account (with benefits of signing up)
  2. Profile (job title, business, business size, postcode
  3. Then preferences (below)

However my boss argues that single page is always the way to go.

Would love any opinions you guys have? Is there a third option I am missing? People have talked about accordion style but i have never seen a accordion sign up in action.

The preferences screen:

enter image description here

  • Hi. I have embedded the picture in your question. I have some idea how to deal with it, but I need to know two things: what is the profile of he website (is is a site for job seekers?) and what these preferences actually represent (some news pumped to emails or job offers?). Please let us know that. Aug 9, 2013 at 5:55
  • Hi Dominik, These preferences will be for targeted product emails we currently don't send. We are a product directory and currently send out a blanket email (not great) with "selected products". We would love to get some preferences so we can provide more relevant emails down the track (2-3 months). We are hesitant to promise that now though as we simply cant deliver it for a while. Also stuck in the situation of not having any preferences for these people at all as yet so we have nobody to send to so a bit chicken and egg. (thanks for embedding, I wasn't allowed yet)
    – Willemrt
    Aug 11, 2013 at 22:49

2 Answers 2


I suggest to use a kind of progressive disclosure principle.

Progressive disclosure defers advanced or rarely used features to a secondary screen, making applications easier to learn and less error-prone.

Read more on http://www.nngroup.com/articles/progressive-disclosure/

In my opinion, it would be better, if profile and preferences would be optional. I mean, user could use system after creating an account, but system should suggest to complete profile and add some preferences, like Linkedin does.


  • I agree with going with the progressive disclosure. Not only is it good UX, but can also improve your conversion rates. A couple of notes: It's still important to not ask for more information than you need (and if you need something unusual, let them know why). You could also use ajax to prevent an entire page refresh going from page to page on the form to reduce wait times. Aug 9, 2013 at 14:09
  • Do you think "Tell us what you like so we can enhance your experience on [product name] better" is ok, or a bit too vague.
    – Willemrt
    Aug 11, 2013 at 22:50

Addressing the question of single page vs. multi-page forms: there's no evidence to suggest the page numbers in forms cause it to perform better or worse. A form's success has more to do with the content of the form than the layout.

Building on Igor's answer of progressive disclosure, I would suggest taking the approach with user account creation of asking for just enough information to create the account. Not what you would like to have, but what you need to have.

You already have the user's email address because they agreed to sign up for the email newsletter. What else is needed to complete an account creation? Could you create the account with just the following?

  • A Password
  • Agreement with account creation terms of use / policy?

After they've created their account, then present them with a profile and preferences. If it's required that in order for account to add any value to the user they must select their preferences, then make that the initial "Let's get your account set up" steps. But also inform them that's why you're taking through this extra step. Flipboard does this well when setting up a new account.

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