I am trying to find studies showing that users don't like to login and/or are not willing to get a login screen as the first screen of an application. I am waiting for analytics to push this idea and get 'rid off' of this pattern (first screen app is a login screen).

I am going to give you a little bit more of context:

I am talking about a mobile/web app being used on a tablet in physical stores by mostly 50+ users not really familiar with technology. We found a way to make the users login in a 'smart' but not as the first experience they will get about this app.

The marketing is trying to push hard the idea (and again...) that users should register/login first. - They want to (obviously) register new users and collect as much data as they can from them - ''If you are identified and/or authenticated we will provide you better services and push products that will fit your needs'' which is indeed a receivable argument.

However, I am afraid of the first impression users will get when they will see this first login screen in the app... 1- They will not be engaged at all with this app bearing in mind that users will play with this app in a shop and not at home... 2- Many users forget their credentials (still waiting for some web analytics to support that) 3- Security issues: If someone walks away from the screen and forget to log out or don't even know how to log out (a timeout won't solve everything). 4- I ve seen users during usability testings entering many fake credentials like '[email protected]', etc...

My concern is to get a study, business case with stronger weight to put in the scale to support my findings and push back the marketing. I can't extrapolate that my 5-20 users are representative of their hundreds of thousands clients so I am trying to find a larger (quantitative) study or references to support my usability findings.

Would you please point me any good references?

  • Is this a mobile app or a web page? What is the context of your Login screen? Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 15:08
  • Depending on the nature of your app, you might be able to implement the Lazy Registration design pattern. google.com.au/search?q=Lazy+Registration
    – Erics
    Commented Nov 8, 2013 at 9:59
  • Try to avoid feeling like you already know what's right. It's harder to accept an alternative idea if one ends up being better, because you may feel like you have to defend your original idea. That being said, you should still try and find research on the topic at hand, as it may influence your approach. Also see if you can present your ideas then conduct A/B or Multivariate tests to determine how the site behaves in the real world. The results might support your idea, and if they do you would have some additional data on your side to influence the final decision.
    – ChrisK
    Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 11:45
  • Just use a cookie and don't require them to register at all. This is the same as a grocery store "loyalty card" which the user never bothered to register and provide their personal info - it still gives them the discounts and provides info to marketing analysts, just anonymized. No problem.
    – user67695
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 15:08

3 Answers 3


The problem is not really the login. The main problem is the registration.

If the visitor is a registered user he already knows the benefits of the service you're offering, he will have no problem with logging in (but consider using cookies or other ways of keeping the login - nobody wants to login again and again). If he visits your site/app for the very first time, he doesn't.

From NNGroup (http://www.nngroup.com/articles/mobile-apps-initial-use/):

In our testing, we saw countless apps that asked users to register before having proven their worth in the slightest. This is wrong . Remember: users start out with a fairly low level of commitment to your app. Unless yours is a truly great app that offers immense value, people won't use it enough to make registration worth their while.

Although this article is about mobile, I strongly believe that it also fits on webpages.

The quote also makes clear why it still works with services like Facebook: they offer great value (and everybody knows what they're offering).

As long as the login is really reasonable for the user (like email, or banking or whatever) it's better to start with features rather than login.

It's the first impression that counts.


A forced login page with no clear value is a put off. Why should I spend my time only to find the site useless?

Then, of course, if you pay me 1000 USD for the hassle to register and fill your forms - by all means :) But this comes back again to the value I get.

Logging, registering, filling forms is always a hassle to your users, so how can they like it? And what studies are needed to support it?

  • I can't tell you how many times I have declined to save around $20 when asked to open a new credit card through a department store, or save money in the future when asked to accept a new loyalty card... The hassle to me is not worth me helping the store, with maybe a small payoff to me... It is so stupid, why can't people just run a business and stop trying to be vampires and leeches and peacocks and every other animal in the menagerie?
    – user67695
    Commented Nov 30, 2016 at 15:13

Have a look at: Attention web designers: You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression! by Lindgaard et al.

In this paper, the authors describe three studies that were conducted to ascertain how quickly people form an opinion about web page visual appeal. The results suggest that web designers have about 50 ms to make a good first impression. It basically proves what L. Mller states in his answer: "the first impression counts a lot".

  • 1
    Can you provide some summary info from that paper in this answer? Otherwise it's not actually answering the question; you're just directing people off to somewhere else to go and find out for themselves. (Not to mention future link-rot). StackExchange sites tend to remove such link-only answers because of this, but with some summary information then you should be fine.
    – JonW
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 15:52
  • Haha this is a circle - I added the last sentense after I saw your answer, now you're giving evidence that it's correct :-)
    – Lovis
    Commented Nov 7, 2013 at 17:15

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