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Let's say some personal info, like interests or location, would really improve the usefulness of my site. Is it excessive to have my profile pages set up so that, when a user opens their own profile, forms open up to show what could/should be added? Could that be endlessly annoying? Is that more intrusive than, say, having a subtle drop down at the top of the page. Are there examples of good design that deal with the "get your users to provide more info" issue?

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So I have decided tentatively to display this block above the users profile if there is information missing from the profile that would be helpful to have in order to give a better user experience. Keep in mind that I am a doctor and amateur programmer, not a professional.

enter image description here

You can close this if you want. I am thinking of added some functionality to allow users to stop seeing this completely if they wish. What do you think.....too intrusive, pesky, detailed?

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    I'd expect my profile page to be an actual form. So I'm a bit confused by this question. What is your profile page if not a place to ask for profile information? – DA01 Sep 14 '15 at 21:14
  • Why would a profile page necessarily be a form? At least, be displayed as a form? In the setting of a social network for example, it may be (and usually is) a means to display your info to other users. – GhostRider Sep 15 '15 at 7:10
  • How would you implement this that it also works for visually impaired people? – Hennes Sep 15 '15 at 8:38
  • @GhostRider I guess that would be different context. Typically when I'm logged in and go to my profile, it's essentially a form. It may not be shown as a form until I hit EDIT, of course, but it's essentially a lot of label/data pairs. The 'public profile' is slightly different and I'd consider that more of a 'public view' of said form. – DA01 Sep 15 '15 at 14:28
  • Agreed. That actually is exactly what mine is too. I guess you are right insofar as you are only going to visit your own profile to edit it really. – GhostRider Sep 15 '15 at 15:17
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No, it's not bad UX as long as you don't go overboard. This being said, I'd try to work on the reasons your users behave like this

For what you describe, it looks like they're already signed and they didn't fill some fields that weren't required, however you also say that

"some personal info like interests or location really improve the usefulness of my site" .

If this is the case (which is quite common), did you originally asked them to fill those fields? Did you make it extremely clear for your users that by filling those fields they would have an improved experience? or is this just your perception because YOU want their info? (which is totally cool and legit, but a different reasoning)

If this is a case where filling that info is useful for the user, then you'd need to know WHY they're choosing NOT to fill that info. Maybe you're getting too pesky, or too personal, or going overboard with questions. Something simple like the image below should work fine.

enter image description here

And once you define this, then it's more than OK to have some subtle animation letting your users know they can improve their experience. This can be achieved by a quite wide variety of approaches, but the more important thing is to offer a way to stop the messages if the user chooses to. This could also be used as a way to get feedback from your users and understand why they don't want to fill those fields, which in turn will help you make more accurate decisions

  • I think the green explanation looks a lot like a button, but your actual point is good. – Dan Sep 14 '15 at 23:58
  • I'd be as specific as possible about the benefits. Rather than "enhanced experience," you might say "so we can make recommendations and connect you with like-minded people." Or whatever. – Ken Mohnkern Sep 15 '15 at 12:32
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Asking for information from the user is OK if the user understands why you need that info. You need my address so you can send me the stuff I ordered. You need my email address so you can send me a confirmation. You need my interests because... Wait. Why do you want me to tell you my interests? They're irrelevant for the tasks I'm accomplishing here on your site. (This is an example. I don't know why your users come to your site.)

The best way to get people to give you information is to: (1) ask for it in context (for example, ask for their address when they're checking out), and (2) tell them why you need it and what you'll do with it. Not with popups and animations.

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Needless animations are usually bad. That is not to say that a rarely used page with an animated little green arrow pointing to an unfilled but needed field is bad, but there are so many annoying animated items in webpages that it is safest to assume that ad-blockers block them all.

Thus my advice: Design the page to work without animation.

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