I am redesigning my login page to be a tabbed modal (sign in / register). I asked my wife "which do you prefer, sign in page or a pop up / slide down sign in page," and she surprised me by saying the separate page.

I'm still new to conventions and design, so I'm not sure which is better or which the community generally accepts.

Is there a preference in design patterns regarding login pages?

Just to be clear, it is a model not a popup. It only shows up when the user hits the sign in button. Similar to:


  • In any way - an important factor, were your example demo fails, is that the input field should receive focus when you open it.
    – Velkommen
    Jul 30, 2015 at 11:13
  • I could do that easy, but I may got back to a separate page.
    – Jeff
    Jul 30, 2015 at 11:15
  • 2
    And even though your wife prefers something, you should test it on more people :)
    – Velkommen
    Jul 30, 2015 at 11:19
  • Ha, very true. I guess I could try a poll
    – Jeff
    Jul 30, 2015 at 11:20

3 Answers 3


It depends on many factors. Please avoid using popup unless you really want to get the users attention. Here in Sign in/Register popup is unacceptable.

Number of fields in your sign up form

If there are many fields say more than 6 it is better to go with a separate page. A Tabbed Modal or a Pop up will not match here. If your sign up form has less number of fields then you can go for a Tabbed Pane. Pop up is not an option in both cases.

Mobile Devices

Keep less number of fields in registration form in mobile.Users do not want to fill long forms. Ask only necessary information. Popup in mobile for this scenario is not acceptable.

  • That's true... Forgot about mobile.
    – Jeff
    Jul 30, 2015 at 11:09

I've experienced similar feedback from users, i.e preferring forms on a separate page rather than a modal box. Sign in and register are no exception. Don't think there are any prefered design patterns but personally I also think modal boxes are associated with pop ups, which can be pretty disruptive to the user.


One thing you must consider for this particular comparison is what happens if the user has Javascript disabled?

Without Javascript your AJAX call will not work (Asynchronous JavaScript And XML)

Ajax without JavaScript

Also it is likely that your popups will not work without javascript, sliders maybe with some clever CSS which can also be disabled

How practical is the accessibility requirement to view pages with CSS disabled?

Only about 1.1% of users have javascript turned off but would you really want 1 out of every 93 people not be able to log into your site?

Surely you can create fallbacks to where when there is no Javscript or CSS revert to seperate form or other means but this is a real concern that should be noted.

  • I half agree with what you are saying. On one hand, I would like to make sure 100% of users can use my sight, but trying to support IE before 8 or 9 gets difficult, and no JS on top of that is hard. That said, I know a number of my users are overseas (I'm in US), and disable JS or use old browsers. I think I've decided to go back to the navigation style.
    – Jeff
    Jul 30, 2015 at 12:53
  • Yeah it certainly matters who your demographic is. I personally don't code for javascript disabled users but that is because the sites I usually work on require it and aren't worth redesigning for that 1%. However if youre a major ecommerce site 1% can translate to millions of dollars.
    – DasBeasto
    Jul 30, 2015 at 12:57

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