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The company I work at has decided to start building a database of users to extend a current service, but I'm not completely sure how to tackle it.

I believe we should try to make the distinction between registering for a study and registering for our database clear, to be honest to the candidates. But at the same time, I want to avoid bothering the users with excessive forms (and keep the threshold low) and simplify the journey through the process.

Anyway, imagine the following scenario (current flow);

  1. Candidates come to our website to find/participate in clinical trials.

  2. They select a study, and must then fill out a prescreening form to see if they meet the criteria to participate (no contact details involved).

  3. If they pass, the next step is to submit contact details such as name, phone number, address and email address in a contact form.

  4. Done! (But we do not add them to our database as it works right now)

The goal now is, of course, to somewhere in this flow get them to register for the database. So my question is, when and how?

My first thought is to implement a page that users land on if they fail the prescreening form, asking if they want to register to our database to get notified if similar studies (as the one they just chose) come up.

However, I'm puzzled where to propose the registration to our database if they pass the prescreening form, and thought of one of the following:

The form to register for the database includes three fields: Email, password and medical condition of interest.

  1. Ask to registration to the database on the prescreening form as well. This means adding more fields (which I want to avoid).

  2. On the contact form, put in a checkbox and ask if they want to register for the database as well to get further updates.

  3. Upon finishing the contact form, land on a new page asking if they want to register for the database as well.

All of above mentioned option means asking them for their email (again), password and medical conditions of interest.

What to do?

  • I don't understand why option (lower 2) [which is my favorite] requires asking emails again? It's a checkbox on a form that already has the emails (upper 3). I agree with your approach to handle pre-screening drop-outs. – virtualnobi May 30 '14 at 9:51
  • Hi. Thanks for the reply! You are right, now that I see it in text, it becomes clear that I should be able to 're-use' the email entered in previous steps.! :-) I'm still left with the issue of asking for a password and medical condition (which means adding two additional field) if they decide to register. Would you say option two still is the best place to do this? – Mumas May 30 '14 at 11:52
  • I'd add these two fields only when they check the box, agreeing to be included in the database. That way, the form does not look complex initially, and it is clear why these fields are needed. – virtualnobi Jun 1 '14 at 19:10
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If they have to fill out information for every trial or study they take part in why not do it this way:

Client/subject comes to website, clicks on study they want to take part in and allow them to fill out their info. If they pass and it moves them on throw in a checkbox, button, whatever method you feel is best saying "Thank you for filling out the information for this test. Would you like us to add your information to the our database for future use?"

If they say yes you can do two things. 1: you can get them to agree to hand over their contact information in the process of being accepted to the study and throw that information info the database for future contact by your company. 2: You can also save common info asked on study application forms into the database and reuse it.

That way on things that are commonly asked (Age, gender, name, height, weight, whatever your company happens to be looking for) can be auto-filled into future forms when the user signs up for a study because it is associated with their ID in the overall company database. It will save them time on signing up for studies and get more entries into your company database.

Getting people to hand data over to databases primarily used to contact them can be hard since people don't want to deal with spam, junk mail or phone calls a whole lot. So you have to make them giving their to a more permanent and separate part of the company service worthwhile to them or make it clear that you will not spam them or contact them often (if ever unless they say otherwise or it is for good reason. (whatever that may be))

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    I've been thinking in those terms as well and a separate page seems the most clear and honest way to present it to the user. +1 for the tip about re-using the common info asked during a study application for future registrations. Wish I could upvote you but my rep is too low, but huge thanks for your reply! :-) – Mumas Jun 1 '14 at 18:33
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Why not treat this workflow in the same way as you would an email newsletter signup? In the long run this signup is separate from the current study they are applying for, so why make it hinge on passing/failing.

At the end of the form on step 2 include a checkbox that says something along the lines of "please contact me for future study opportunities."

If they check the box you could display another form where they can fill out their study preferences/personal info. Then once it's in your database you can use it to pre-populate the fields in step 3.

  • Hi and thanks for the reply! I wish I could, but the registration involves creating an account for the user (where they can update their profile to get a more relevant newsletter, and also future features they can access while logged in). I would love to include a checkbox in step 2, but since we are going to create a account for them we'll also need to put a password field in there which feels awkward considering they are still in the process of registering for a study. Any more ideas? :-) – Mumas Jun 1 '14 at 18:25
  • PS. Wish I could upvote your reply but I have too low rep to do so... :-( – Mumas Jun 1 '14 at 18:25

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