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I am designing quite a lengthy registration process. Has anyone had any negative or positive outcomes in terms of conversion rates, using the following three solutions:

  • A Progress Indicator with clearly defined categories. Each step will conditionally reveal content.

  • A form that only shows one large form field at a time with a progress bar. Each step will conditionally reveal content.

  • One long scroll-able page with all the form fields displayed and categorized.

It will be a responsive site and will have more desktop users. But the mobile experience should be as close as possible to the desktop.

  • Will your users primarily be mobile or desktop? – plainclothes Dec 2 '15 at 17:51
  • Please provide more context and what you can tell us about your users if you don't want to get a ton of "it depends" type of answers. – luchomolina Dec 2 '15 at 18:41
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Separating registration from content development will get you earlier buy in. Long registration is a burden and can be overwhelming.

If the long registration process is required, I would suggest creating a step by step process in small chunks, with a progress bar. That way the user can't look ahead and feel overwhelmed.

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It depends on many, many factors (user demographics, devices, nature of your service or product, and type of information to name a few) so a little bit of context would help better my answer.

As a rule of thumb, you don't want long registration forms, but if you definitely must, I suggest to first capture the most minimal, important information (usually email and password) and then present the users with the rest of the form.

A progress bar is useful to set expectations correctly so it's a nice-to-have.

  • Curious - How does capturing minimal, most important information first up help in getting a positive form conversion? – Amit Jain Dec 2 '15 at 20:10
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    @AmitJain Good question. I believe that, in most cases, this approach gives a sense of engagement since the user will have invested time and data for the first step, so they will feel the need to complete the task. On the other hand, the system can then send reminders to encourage task completion. – luchomolina Dec 3 '15 at 1:30
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The best option for a long registration process is to make it shorter.

Presumably the reason for the long registration process is that there is lots of information you want to capture. What you ought to do is separate most of this information capture from the actual act of registering for an account.

Allow registering for an account with the absolute minimum of information: someone who wants to sign up for your site should be able to do this with no effort.

Then later, you can capture important, detailed information. You can guide the user directly to a longer form as soon as they register, but if they don't finish it then, they can always come back, and you can send gentle reminders to users who haven't completed everything.

Look at LinkedIn as a good example of this paradigm. A LinkedIn account isn't useful unless you enter quite a lot of information. Nevertheless, they let you register with only name and email address. Then, later on they encourage you to build up a detailed profile by adding more information.

For this to work, the detailed information actually has to be of some benefit to the user. However, that is true of any model: you aren't going to get good results if you ask for lots of information that has no clear benefit to them.

  • Thanks, I like this idea. Register first, then capture info as and when it's needed. – Mharps Dec 3 '15 at 9:25

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