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Currently I deal with registration for an educational web site. I came across a problem with registration.

The web site has different sections for five different audiences: candidates - students - alumni - teachers - companies. Since a registration form will be little bit longer than normal, I wonder when is the best place for choosing the type of user.

What do you think? - is it better to integrate it directly into the form (e.g. first step from 5 = one more step in addition) or to extract it and to place next to the Register button? (form will seem shorter) Or is there an even better way?

  • Do different categories have to fulfil different forms afterward? – Pierre Dutheil Feb 12 '15 at 13:59
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I think you need to look at this from information architecture point of view. It seems to me that that the "user type" is the largest (most encompassing) category you have so I would start the registration form by asking about the type and then direct users to separate workflows. In the future and if need be this will help you to easily personalise the journey for each category.

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Why don't you do:

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

This allows them to choose a path, then register accordingly.

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According to what i have been studying, the more appropriate way is to show it with the form, preferably at the start. I am sure you are giving these 5 options for a reason. Is there any specific reason you want your form to look shorter?

  • Well, certain groups of inputs are quite numerous. I also do not want to bother the users a unending form. – Tereza Vanacká Feb 12 '15 at 18:01
  • if the information is important and user sees a value in providing it, there is no harm in design long forms. For example, when i was applying for the company in California, the form was really long but i filled with all my interest because i knew it is not a waste of time. – Guru Munishwar Feb 13 '15 at 4:23
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I see some kind of problem to be forced in this case, and in my opinion good design should help make it easier:

New users in several cases might be confused by which account type should they choose. Of course most of them will not have a problem with that - usually it's clear that a student is a student and a teacher is a teacher. However there's the possibility that some students have their own business or some students can be alumni at the same time.

So for me you should make that choice as the first step of your form and use clear icons as Majo0od showed you can post there short info or compare what are the functionalities of all types of accounts. And as I explained my point of view - you dont have a place for that explanation between buttons.

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