I have noticed an increasing trend the last year towards emphasizing the "register" button rather than "log in".

Often log in is not even a button, just a link. I understand the desire to simplify the process for first time users, but I find it strange, since you typically will register once, but log in several times.

What is the rationale behind this practice?

  • 1
    The worst case is the one where you struggle to find where to login, as on the bitbucket.org website. – mimipc Jan 14 '15 at 16:40
  • Everyone who logs in has registered, but not all those who register log in. – TankorSmash Jan 14 '15 at 17:01
  • @mimipc Netflix too, amazingly. I've been logged in for over a year, used someone else's PC, and "uhhh.." – OJFord Jan 14 '15 at 17:01
  • 1
    @Jaydles yeah, I think it's pretty similar, if not the same question – kumarharsh Jan 15 '15 at 6:28

Because some people just want to watch the world burn

There's an argument that you wish to entice people to register (ie make it prominent), while those wishing to log in are already interested, and likely to not mind clicking the extra button. They are also likely to click "Remember me" anyway

It also depends on your paradigm, how your customers use your service, whether you would expect them to arrive at the same gateway as existing customers etc... for example Netflix makes registration very prominent, because you're likely to register on the website but log in directly to an app on a device.

You need to consider your own use cases and workflow

|improve this answer|||||

You can see this behavior in SaaS products more and their sales funnel shape. Without having more sign ups, you can not have more active users. Therefore, there is a tendency to get more registration for keeping the pyramid alive.

enter image description here

The best practice having both at the same time in a landing page like:

enter image description here

|improve this answer|||||
  • 11
    BUT - don't have both, and then not keep my input if I write my email and desired password before realising it's for login only! Just ask me for whatever else/copy it across to new form if I hit 'sign up'! – OJFord Jan 14 '15 at 17:03

"Log in several times" varies from person to person.

I think the prevalence of this shift is due in part to how many of those services offer a solid "Keep Me Logged In" feature. Once you register then you will probably stay logged in and most people probably don't know or don't care to log out once they are finished.

|improve this answer|||||

Register is used as the default word because it's the first action you normally require a user to do if logging in is a required action to accessing the content of your site.

Why it continues to show up could be due to many reasons. Here are a few:

  • That's what the author wanted (or in some cases mgmt forced them to do), pure and simple.

  • The client used a browser that utilized private browsing where it doesn't cache anything, cookies and all, therefore it doesn't remember you.

  • The author may not have chosen to use something like OAuth to automatically recognize you based on other sites you are already logged in to like Google and many others do.

Like @Abektes says, it's best practice to give both options. However, I would add to that: that's only the case if you don't have code in place to recognize them and log in automatically.

Or you can abandon both words altogether and do what Google does by using Sign in and Create an account:

|improve this answer|||||

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.