I am in the process of re designing a registration workflow for a social app. The nature of its content is very generic, food related stuff like recipes, cooking tips etc. The signup form is planned to be shown inside a model window. We want to encourage signups through Facebook, while giving an email signup as an option.

I wanted to avoid taking users to multiple screens for signups/signin and use the same model for everything related to on boarding. Hence, tried to incorporate three things- Sign Up, Login, Forgot Password within the same form. When the user focuses on the email field, we will collapse the top section and use the space for additional fields and call to actions. The action button label would change according to the choice the user makes.

For Signup it will "Signup as a New User" for Existing users "Sign into your kitchen" and for forgot password "Send recovery instructions"

What do you think of this approach? Do you see any complications in this? Screenshots attached. Sign up pop up-1 Once the user clicks on email the fields expand

2 Answers 2


The first screenshot is simple enough, but I think the second one is a bit confusing. Try simplifying by:

  1. Removing the Facebook link once they've entered an email address.

  2. Once they've entered an email address, check to see if it's already used, and then display the remaining fields accordingly. This would allow you to eliminate the radio buttons (except for forgot password case)

  3. Use fewer words on submit button, such as "Create Account".
  • Thanks, that makes sense. The reason to keep Facebook again there was to make it double obvious that we prefer that route. After seeing the email and password fields, if they need to go back to Facebook, i may need to plant another link to switch back to the first screen otherwise. Agree with simple action labels, validation etc. Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 4:27
  • One question regarding the validation idea. Upfront validation could mean that you are giving away a user data rt? I could take a wild guess and try a friend's email id to see if he/she is part of the network. Is that a privacy violation? I personally don't see much of an issue there since the content nature is pretty harmless. Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 4:42
  • @Anand A Nair - That is a consideration, but even with the way registration works on most other sites, you could enter a friend's email while creating a bogus account. If it fails, you know that email's already used.
    – E L
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 15:31
  • I am big fan of detecting if the user is already a member and selectively showing the password field.
    – Cherian
    Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 17:45
  • @Anand A Nair Just realized, even the first screen shot might be confusing, since it says "Join..." even though it's used for existing users as well.
    – E L
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 17:40

Amazon.com has tackled this problem in the following elegant way:

Amazon.com sign in / sign up

This method allows the user to sign in where possible, and if they don't have an account yet they can continue right now without even entering a password!

  • 1
    Thanks, this is simple too. One issue i have is weather to allow sign ups without a password. Unlike an e-commerce site, where the transaction is the key more than user acquisition, being a social app, we need users so that we can reach to them later. We do have a simple signup mechanism right now with just an email entry and without a password right now (We will send an access link to the email) but people are not really using it and we observe a huge drop off at that point. Part of the reason could be that the sign up emails are getting lost inside new google mail folders. Commented Nov 6, 2013 at 5:16

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