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The current design for a sign-up page of mine is split into 2 sections - Sign up using your social media account on the left and a sign-up form with 5 inputs on the right. We ran a quick user test and found that more people were signing up with their emails. We want to encourage users to connect with their Facebook/Twitter accounts instead.

I researched the matter and saw that some sites display the social media links prominently and have a smaller Sign up with email text link. Users need to click the link to access the form.

Those solution are only ones I have found so far. I am wondering if anyone has had these design requirements and found a more effective solution?

Update: I also found a solution where the site says something like "Don't be old-school. Sign up with Facebook instead". It sounded a bit rude, and I'm not partial to this solution.

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    Concerning your edit: If a site disparages my wish to avoid using my Facebook account for anything other than Facebook as "old-school" that would make me leave immediately and never come back. – Roman Reiner Jan 5 '15 at 8:05
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    And maybe also a remark such as: "We are not going to learn about your Facebook access data (password).", unless that is the case. I personally still wouldn't sign up using FB because I don't like one site to know that I'm registered on another site, but some users might simply be worried about you getting their access data when they sign up with their FB access data on your site. – O. R. Mapper Jan 5 '15 at 8:37
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    Why would you want to use Facebook for login at all, anyway? It makes your service dependent on another provider who might charge third parties for authentication services next week or who might go bankrupt for no apparent reason (unlikely, but possible), it limits what you can do in the future (any service you provide must run via a web browser), and it has no real advantage. It does have serious disadvantages for privacy-aware users though (not like they'd use Facebook at all, anyway). – Damon Jan 5 '15 at 11:57
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    Like Andreas said. I use OpenID to remove the burden of storing passwords, I would suggest you add as much options as possible (facebook/twitter/google/...) – the_lotus Jan 5 '15 at 13:41
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    @gummybearpaws: "We just want to know more about the users (their likes for movies, books etc)" - and that is exactly why for me, as a user, signing up with a Facebook account to some other service is a no-go. It just creates an extra hassle for me in that I need to adapt (and, given FB's tendency to change settings on its own every now and then, keep watching) my privacy settings on FB in a way so any hints of my likes for movies, books, etc. remain hidden from nosy 3rd party sites that think they are entitled to know about my likes and dislikes just because I signed up for them using FB. – O. R. Mapper Jan 6 '15 at 22:30

10 Answers 10

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We ran a quick user test and found that more people were signing up with their emails

If you trust your test, then you should trust your users and design a solution that meets their desires.

We are trying to encourage users to connect with their Facebook/Twitter accounts instead

Why is that? Do you have sound reasoning behind this in that it will ultimately provider a better experience for the user? If so, share that reasoning with the user. Be up front with them. "Consider using your social media account because X Y, Z..."

I also found another solution where the site says something like "Don't be old-school. Sign up with Facebook instead"

But that's not sound reasoning. That's just an annoying sales pitch. You have to explain to the user--succinctly--as to why it benefits them to use their social media account.

You also have to consider the reasons people may not want to use their social media account. I rarely want to use Facebook to log in to sites with--mainly because I never really know what that connection is and if this new site is going to start sharing things on Facebook without me being fully aware of it. So there's likely some legitimate concerns people have that you may have deal with as well.

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    If you are user testing users you can ask them 'why' they don't want to sign in with Facebook - it will probably be down to the 'not trusting with data' issues which DA01 refers to above. – PhillipW Jan 5 '15 at 9:29
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    Most of the time, Facebook logins are there not because they provide a better experience for the user, but because they provide a better experience for the <strike>advertiser</strike>site creator. – Federico Poloni Jan 5 '15 at 11:30
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    @gummybearpaws Also worth considering: a growing number of people don't trust what Facebook does and does not have/share. Pushing people to use Facebook might have the unintentional effect of pushing them away from your service. – Aza Jan 6 '15 at 6:42
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    @gummybearpaws if the reason to link a Facebook account is to populate the user profile, then I think it makes sense to offer users the option to link a Facebook account at the time they go to fill out their profile. That way they immediately see why it's useful. – David Z Jan 6 '15 at 21:34
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    I think you'll find that the people that are not using Facebook to sign in are the same set of people that don't reveal reveal much personal information on Facebook, so you're not losing much personalization for those users. I never use Facebook as an authentication provider, and my Facebook account has very little activity, you're not likely to glean much information about me from it. – Johnny Jan 6 '15 at 21:46
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The only advantage that I see as a user (for sites that I don't actually want to use in combination with twitter/facebook) is that it is quicker to log in with an existing account.

As such you may want to structure it like so:

Log in with existing account (can be social media or email)

vs

Register new account
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    I would go with this solution. – Zoe K Jan 5 '15 at 10:59
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    A new user might automatically think that they need to register since they have never visited before. It would have to be obvious that they can just seamlessly "connect" their existing social media account. – smcg Jan 5 '15 at 16:28
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    A common option similar to this is something like "Quick log in: [Facebook] [Google]" buttons stressing the convenience, plus a small re-assuring note below the button saying something like "We'll never post without your permission [link to privacy/social media policy]" – user56reinstatemonica8 Jan 8 '15 at 12:24
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I generally avoid signing up to random websites with Facebook, because I don't want those sites posting junk to my Facebook profile. One recent exception was Fallen London, which has a link saying "Read our civilised social media policy" right next to the "create a free account" -> "sign in with Facebook" link. The linked policy says things like "It's your Twitter/Facebook stream, not ours" and

We don't post JUST LEVELLED UP or COME PLAY MY GAME spam to your stream, ever. We do allow you to share content from the game on your stream, but it's opt-in, voluntary, share-it-if-you-like-it. (We don't pass on your email address to third parties, either, because we're not utter cads.)

That is the kind of policy I want to see from a site before I'll log in with Facebook.

(And obviously, as well as having a policy page like that on your site, you do what the policy says. That goes without saying... right?)

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I trust facebook.com (sort of), so I put information on there such as my likes. I don't trust just any old site I stumble across on the Internet. So there's no way that I'm going to register for your application with my Facebook account.

However, after some use, I may find that I do trust your application. Then I might be ready to click "Connect with Facebook". (Although that's very unlikely, as I haven't even done this with Netflix, which I've had for years).

So the best you can do is:

  1. Provide your users with a way of connecting Facebook after they have signed up, and let them know about this during registration (show "You can always connect to Facebook later" on the sign-up page).

  2. Occasionally remind users of the benefits of connecting Facebook in a non-obtrusive way. (Occasionally in the content of some of your pages, display a message like "Connect with Facebook and see what your friends are [watching/reading/whatever it is people do on your app]! We will never post anything on your wall without asking." with a Connect Facebook button.

  3. Advertise on Facebook to get potential new users to come to your site from Facebook.

  4. Accept that some (probably most) people just won't use Facebook on your application, and find another way to collect information about their preferences (like showing movies or books and allowing the user to check the ones that he or she prefers, or perhaps rate them).

  5. Make sure you have a privacy policy that is clear, easy to understand, and easy to access about exactly what information you get from Facebook and how you will use that information.

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I don't understand why you want to change the user habit for the sign up? (business goals?) Sign up with social media is just an alternative for the user.

Moreover, your test tells you that your users prefer email. Maybe, you would have to ask users why they prefer this solution instead of social media accounts? Maybe you don't use the good social media connect or you don't explain the benefits for the user?

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To answer your question, I will have to make an assumption based on perceived business goals. The assumption is that the company would like to know more about their users without the requirement of filling out an in depth account profile.

I believe the design to be sound, however the focus may need to be on your messaging. If you were to provide messaging explained the benefit of using social media, "so you don't have to create a profile" or one of my favorites "let us know more about you so we can better service you." Of course that's old school, but depending on the audience you may want to adapt to something more modern/hip.

I would build up a series of messages design to attract the appropriate response and conduct a series of A/B testing. Refining at each step to find/build the best message.

  • Your assumption here is spot on. Based on your suggestion and the others in this thread, I'll have to agree that providing the reasoning and structuring a good message is the way to go. – gummybearpaws Jan 6 '15 at 3:54
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You can check the trustworthiness of your product and service. If users are choosing e-mail registration, there can be a trust issue. It may not be the company itself, but that the contextual information is important for users.

As in the context, a user can enter a job application site with LinkedIn account and a person may not want to use their Facebook account at a dating site at first sight.

I think that it is not related to design of the form, the form design and message should be direct and with fewer elements. Ask: Why do users use e-mail during sign up rather than social media accounts?

Social accounts do not have the same value in user's perception; try to explore them with users. Any reasoning which has a because statement can increase the overall rate.

  • Join with (this social account) because ... (this message should create a good reasoning)

Good luck!

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Although I don't have a clarity regarding the nature of your website and/or the benefits it may be providing to the users signing up, thinking from a user's end, we may mainly have users - who are always in for social connect, those who would decide after having a look at the site and those who would not under any circumstance.

  1. For the social network savvy folks you can always have the signup with social accounts option right up on the signup/signin section.

  2. As a not sure person I would rather not prefer connecting via my social account to a website about which I know very less / nothing at all

In that case..

I would suggest that instead of trying to convince the users to sign up with their social accounts, let them sign up with an email know a little about your site and then motivate them to link to their social accounts. Show them the benefits of social connect and provide a readily available connect option within their logins. This keeps the decision of connecting via social media an active decision from the users making them the champions. (One of the sole motives to enhance UX :))

  1. For people who would not prefer connecting at all even if you explode the site with options they may choose to ignore it.
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If you or your business idea wish to succeed and attain this goal or directive you desire, then the simplest solution would be to make this social media sign-in idea more appealing or rewarding in any way possible for the clientele you seek.

What is the point of anyone doing anything out of their usual safe known practice when it heightens the risk factor in any way whatsoever. After all, this is the World Wide Web.

Security is a major issue with social media, Facebook especially. As you can see pointed out clearly by the responses to your question "idea", if there is no reward and no apparent benefit then it is highly likely that no social media sign in will occur.

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You know that they do prefer email sign up but you don't know why. You might want to figure that out first.

Firstly what you don't want to do is penalise the people who want to sign up via email.

If you want to encourage Social Media sign up you could try focusing on one of them that is most relevant to your users e.g. Facebook by considering the answers in this other question 'How many social buttons'. More specifically Chris. N's answer:

You should also keep in mind that in most cases less is more. Social media requires consistent updates, which in turn means extra work.

This then gives it equal weighting in the sign up vs email. Plus you can focus more on one platform and drive sign ups from there. If people are coming to your site from Facebook they're more likely to sign up using Facebook as they're already logged in.

Further you could indicate the benefits that they would get if they sign up e.g.:

  1. No more remembering/resetting password
  2. Hit the ground running (auto filled profile and start discussion straight off)
  3. More secure as we don't store your password
  4. We promise not to spam you, your privacy is important to us

You could give them karma points if you have some kind of gamification in your system for filling out the profile.

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