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I'm designing an application which allows the users to sign up if they agree to the terms and conditions. If the user agrees to the terms and conditions, sign-up process will be successful and the user proceeds to the next screen as registered user but if the user disagrees they will continue to use the application as a guest user. I have two designs in mind:

  1. A checkbox and a button with labels "I Agree" and "Finish" respectively Checkbox
  2. Two buttons with label "I Agree" and "I Do Not Agree" enter image description here

Which of the above design would provide better user experience? Or are there other better designs.

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    I don't really understand why people suggest to go with the checkbox, for the sole reason you would then have to scroll all the way down.. don't you have to do that for the buttons, too? Besides all that, pages like these are required but are a pain in the arse for users. UX is not enhanced in any way, it is influenced. In a negative way, that is. Apr 22, 2015 at 12:39
  • is there anything else in the page? Or are you planning just to show the "agree page" in a separately page? btw, what you plan to do when the users clicks on "I do not agree"? Apr 22, 2015 at 12:39
  • How about a percentage scrollbar so users can select level of agreement i.e. "I agree with 60% of the terms" :-) Now seriously, the [I Do Not Agree] button throws the user out the process with some kind of "You can not continue without agreeing" notice, whereas the checkbox prevents clicking on the [Finish] button until it is checked. UX-wise a single [I Agree] button would be better, however, you should consult with your lawyer about the legal side of this. Apr 22, 2015 at 14:52
  • This can be a legal issue. Having a checkbox might have a stronger legal case than a button. Since with the button, the user could say "oh! I clicked the wrong button" or "I clicked out of habit". Having that extra step, the checkbox, would prevent that.
    – the_lotus
    Apr 22, 2015 at 17:35
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    With this kind of thing I always have to ask: "what's the point of the I Do Not Agree" button. No one ever clicks it. You don't want them to click it. Its only existence is to demonstrate to someone else that there was a different button that they could have clicked and chose not to. People have no problem bailing out of a sign-up process they don't agree with (just stick too many questions in a form and see what happens!) The whole thing is just a legal dance. Apr 29, 2015 at 4:46

12 Answers 12

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I suggest the "I Agree" button.

We all know that the "I Agree" button is just some legal mumbo jumbo that neither the developers nor the end user truly care about.

By having the checkbox, we lose the "I Do Not Agree" button. This makes it more difficult and frustrating for the end user to quit, which they should be able to do easily and at any time. For me, It also feels a bit sketchy when I have to double confirm (checkbox and button).

So having the checkbox is just an extra and uneccessary step, and lacking the "I Do Not Agree" button leads to difficulty quitting.

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It's not answerable without UX goals

Start by ordering your UX goals with the form. Rank the following:

  1. Minimize UX friction / maximize convenience - Favors buttons since (a) the interaction is one-click; and (b) buttons are easier to use than checkboxes;
  2. Ensure that the terms and conditions are read - Favors checkbox because they create more friction/cognitive pause and force the user not to skim through the interaction.

If #1 is more important than #2, then go with buttons. If #2 is more important, than go with checkboxes.

If #2 is extremely important, then there are alternative approaches requiring positive user affirmation (such as asking users to type in I agree or their name) but obviously this comes at increasing cost of #1.

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  • Or click the links and wait until all of the agreements have been completely loaded and then scrolled to the bottom at least once and the agreements are open one by one and not at the same time. Also scrolling speed limits can be unfairly applied.
    – EKons
    Jun 3, 2016 at 12:43
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Depends, are their previous and next steps? If yes and you have multiple next buttons consistency is preferred.

If you start the application, get this screen and afterwards the application appears: the 2nd one - less clicks, less thinking.

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    Good question. I've modified the question. Yes there will be at least one previous step but no next step.
    – PS86
    Apr 22, 2015 at 8:16
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In many cases the 'agree' functionality is found at the end of a (long) form. IMHO the actual question would be, if having two submit buttons is good or bad. Does it make sense to the user to submit a form he/she doesn't comply to?

Technically two buttons on one form would work – but what would be the next step / the next page the user sees? Would you offer the option to return to the pre-filled form in case somebody submitted the form through the 'wrong' button?

Having a checkbox instead users could still stay on the form page – which could also be handy especially when dealing with rather complex forms.

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My personal suggestion would be:

  • Have an unchecked checkbox with a description, and disabled 'Continue' button
  • Once the user checks the checkbox enable the continue button

Also, make sure you are not violation the law by this. Check your country's legal requirement for user agreement.

For example, some countries (like Germany) require an approach that you provide the users opt-in functionality (checkbox unchecked).

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Am I not understanding English or is everyone else just assuming this is a legal form? That's not the issue @PS86 was trying to fix, the main problem is the actual behaviour of the page. What he is saying is:

If user agrees to X => unlock full content

If user DOES NOT agree to X => show limited version of the content

The real problem here is how to communicate to the user the consequences of each action. Solving the issue of "what's easier to interact with, a checkbox and button or two buttons" is a secondary problem that does not match with the actual user's experience.

If as a user I see a checkbox and a button I will naturally asume that I HAVE to accept the terms to go to the next page (Law of Experience, Gestalt) BUT what I won't know by experience is that I can proceed even without accepting the terms. That's the real problem to me.

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I'd go with the ticked checkbox, just because ticking a box agreeing that you've read all the legal stuff, is the more common pattern users will see.

A button labelled 'I do not agree' actually requires thinking about.

Basic UX rule: don't make users have to think.

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Do you want user to read your terms and conditions?

The more steps he has to do on this page, the more time he can read and not bothering you with things written there.

It's why a lot of Terms and Agreements requiere to you to scroll to the very bottom before clicking on the button I Agree. It protects you because you have done something to ensure the user has been passing by the whole text.

It is why you should pick the first one imho. Or implementing another similar mechanism as described before.

It is annoying for user, but necessary for you and a good practice is to display it ONLY when new or modified.

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    I am not a lawyer, but I doubt the disabled "I Agree" protects either party any better. It is just a nuisance in my opinion, and actually feels a bit sketchy.
    – Evorlor
    Apr 22, 2015 at 14:39
  • And what about the disabled "I install this spamware" when you download a freeware? They were enabled but then became disabled by default because of lawsuit. It is not a huge shield, but it is still something you can point if there is a lawsuit.
    – Yohann V.
    Apr 22, 2015 at 14:46
  • I was unaware of any lawsuits. So legal stuff aside, I still disagree because it just feels sketchy to force a user to double confirm (both check and and agree). It feels like their are covering for something opposed to just being legit. That, and its an extra click of the mouse with no added benefit (again, legality aside).
    – Evorlor
    Apr 22, 2015 at 14:49
  • It is like a "Are you sure you want to delete ..." confirmation, but since there you can't display this message, just adding something. Anyway I don't think I can convince you.
    – Yohann V.
    Apr 22, 2015 at 15:25
  • "Are you sure you want to delete ..."? Are you talking about the lawsuit? And anyways, you have convinced me from a developer/legal point of view that it is better with the checkbox. Just not from an end user point of view. I am stubborn, but still convinceable :-) It just has not happened yet.
    – Evorlor
    Apr 22, 2015 at 15:28
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I'm not sure if there are legal reasons that would dictate that the user has to acknowledge reading the Terms & Conditions, but with several clients, I've used something along the lines of "By submitting your profile information, you agree to our terms and conditions." Terms and conditions would be a link that would open in an overlay if, heaven forbid, anyone wanted to check them!

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  • There used to be checkboxes, but I rarely see them nowadays in modern webdesign - it's rather a sentence like you described and the Register button is kind of the new I agree and saves a click. Seems to be legal, not sure if a pre-ticked checkbox would be an issue in contrast...
    – CodeManX
    Apr 22, 2015 at 13:33
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The idea you are proposing sounds great. Looks great!

But the question to be asked here is that the intent of providing T&C is getting a declaration from the user that they have read it, understood it and hence they are signing the document (By checking the check box) and are ready to take the next step.

By replacing the check box with the button, you are taking out the "seriousness" of the fact that "user has read T&C and agrees to abide by it"

That is the reasdon it is kept at the bottom so that users scroll down, assuming they read, and then sign it by checking and click next action.

Infact, you can enhance the UX by actually verifying that in how much time user clicked the button against the average time taken to actually read that much content.

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I am using a radio button to agree and I don't agree. It is best practice instead of using the checkbox. Because it provides a better seer experience. I've experienced a 30% boost in my conversion bounce on the last step of the form.

Radio button looks easier and gives a smooth interaction & more visibility to the action. Most of the time the user doesn't notice the checkbox and click on the submit button and after getting declined the user feels awkwardness.

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I Tried an A/B testing before on similar situation my target users were used more to CHECK BOX

if this page is very important for sign up i advise to do an A/B testing.

i will decide based on data as soon as the issue not affecting UI that much

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