I'm trying to decide on terminology for our educational software for.

Here are the 3 goals,reason I prefer that term, and some alternate terminology.

  1. Sign-Up (create an account, clear that it's the first step and not how you get back in)

    • Register (sounds intimidatingly complicated)
    • Try it (confusing b/c if they already have an account they'll click this and get confused - we previously had a "Try it Free" and that's what happened to about 8/10 people I watched use it).
  2. Login (I think that people are used to this for PC login, etc.)

    • Log-on
    • Sign-in (not sure if it's good or bad to make it so close to terminology of "Signup"
  3. Subscribe (upgrade to a paying account)

    • Upgrade (implies (validly) that they'll get something more

I know that we want Signup to be the most prominent b/c it's what everyone has to do first. (An also once they do it we can more easily discover if they are having trouble with 2 and 3).

1 Answer 1


I think looking at a couple of different relatively 'big' sites there's a few ways they approach it. I'm not sure the exact terminology is something to worry about too much, it's the way that the content/forms are presented. Look at FB and Twitter for example.

The Facebook terminology is Log In / Sign Up and Twitter is Sign In / Sign Up, but they are both very clear about what purpose they achieve.

LinkedIn use Sign In or Join LinkedIn, and their upgrade option isn't presented until after the user has signed in.

I like this method, because I think with any 'paid service', it can become annoying to get the paid option pushed in your face, especially when you're at a point when you haven't even signed up for it yet.

I think having a clear login/join option and then once the user logs in, the options for upgrades.

The Crazy Egg site makes the sign-up much more promising as that's obviously the key aim of their home page.

If there's clear levels of user there's also this style of option. The UI isn't very nice here, but it has a clear free level, paid level and the sign-in option in the top bar (this option seems to be very common across most of these sites).

Last option - example is Spotify. They have a top bar (again) with the options to Log In or upgrade - if you need to create an account, this is presented at the login screen - another option I see used heavily.

Hope that helps!

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