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I am toying with the sign up process on my website. User email addresses are not critical in the sense that there is no e-commerce on the site. Its a social networking type site for my colleagues. That said, user email address IS the thing that distinguishes users - you can't sign up with an email address that is already registered.

Now, the issue. I am really cutting down the sign up process so that users can sign up in about 15 seconds. I don't particuarly want a load of fakesters on my site with mock email addresses so I am tempted to include an email confirmation process in the sign up, BUT, I really want people to easily sign in and view the site.

Is the streamlined sign up with no email confirmation foolish? I guess in many ways its just a balancing act between easy of use vs the risk of a some fake users....

How have others weighed this issue up.....

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I think you can keep your signup process simple, but there are a couple of concerns you should address:

  1. Fake signup

    The last thing you would want, is someone to just enter another person’s e-mail and thus block them from signing up. This can be addressed by sending a confirmation e-mail that doesn't require any action, but where it is possible to reject the signup. (e.g. I enter your e-mail address during signup and get full access to the solution. You will get a notification about the registration, and be able to stop this registration).

  2. Wrong e-mail

    People might have entered wrong e-mail into the system. Not another user, but an invalid e-mail. Some solutions solves this by having a state indicator on the setting page of the profile. A simple line that says "E-mail confirmed" or "E-mail not yet confirmed (click here to confirm)".

    This depends on how important the e-mail is. e.g. if you want to send notifications from time to time to the end user.

    The other problem with a wrong e-mail address is that the user won't be able to log in again. This is quite important, and pretty critical if the e-mail is the only identification of the user.

Conclusion:

Keep the signup process simple, and don't let e-mail confirmation be a blocking step in the process. Do send an e-mail, though, that confirms the signup. Remind the user to check their inbox for this e-mail, and make them double check their registered e-mail address if they haven't received this e-mail.

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    Superb answer. (1) above shouldn't be an issue as users cannot enter the same email address - sign up checking solves this. But the other issue of MAKING A MISTAKE ENTERING YOUR EMAIL is something I had not thought of. Yes, I have 'reset your password' functionality for password screw ups, but not for email. This answer is likely to have saved me a lot of hassle. Cheers Jørn! Simon – GhostRider Sep 27 '14 at 10:38
  • @GhostRider You can workaround wrong email adress for a while - if it is same device - by setting a cookie with login data for first users: If you enter the site again, you are already logged in. – FrankL Sep 29 '14 at 8:51
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Even though Jorn already answered your question, I do want to add something to consider. I know your question is about 'confirm vs not confirm', so this might be slightly off topic, though.

If you really want to speed up the sign up process you might want to provide a social sign up button (such as discussed here Any stats data advocating integrated social logins over traditional user / password login?).

You can find information on how to (for example) use the Google sign up button on your website https://developers.google.com/+/web/signin/.

It has a few benefits:

  • The users are already validated and most likely to be real persons
  • An email address is linked to their social account.
  • As discussed in the other ux.stackexchange topic, providing a social login increases sign up conversion to your website.
  • You can provide a better secured (longer) sign up process for those who don't want to use social sign up.
  • Social sign up is faster than your desired 15 seconds, and safe.

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