Registration Usability – 87 Registration Forms Tested

Login IconFollowing up on previous posts about permission marketing and welcome emails for ecommerce websites, I’d like to share my personal experience registering for 87 accounts with the top online retailers and offer some tips for registration form design.

Your site may have several forms that ask for personal information – for email subscriptions, creating an account, entering billing information, requesting help, general contact, creating a wishlist or order tracking. It’s important to note that in my test I was taking initiative to sign up for an account by clicking “Register” or “My Account”. I did not reach these forms in the middle of a checkout process (required registration).

Popular Form Fields and Frequency

1. Password – 100%

Obviously this is a requirement for all sites, but 100% required users to invent their own passwords rather than sending computer-generated temporary passwords (which are terribly annoying). But Dell and Nieman Marcus failed to mention clearly that their passwords require at least one number until you fail at your first password attempt.

2. Repeat Password Field – 89%

Though it takes a small amount of extra time, this is recommended because it’s easy to make errors when you only see **** as you type. How frustrating for customers when they cannot log in because the password they *thought* they entered is wrong.

3. Email Subscription Option – 66%

Of the two thirds who took advantage of the registration form to ask for opt-in email subscriptions 57% pre-checked boxes.

4. Required First / Last Name – 54%

Unless you are not asking for a mailing address at the same time (for billing and shipping information), don’t require first and last names, because customers will have to re-enter this at a later time.

5. Required Address – 33%

I really don’t want to argue that for the sake of a short form, retailers shouldn’t require an address. Because billing and shipping information is essential to ecommerce, there is reason for having this information in the form, but I recommend making it optional (see below). 7% of retailers just asked for postal code – perhaps to notify registrants if they fall outside of the shipping area, or to collect demographic information. “Birds of a feather flock together” and your postal code tells a lot about your income.

eBags asks for postal code “for information on events in your area” in an “optional” section – but uses an asterisk. Why?

ebags confusing registration

6. Confirm Email Address – 32%

This is recommended as it’s easy to mistype an email address. Incorrect email addresses create log-in problems and makes it impossible to send confirmation emails and other messages.

7. Security Question – 20%

As an alternative to sending you your login details via email for handy reference, some sites employ a security question feature — either by dropdown menu question or an open-ended “hint” field.

Jakob Nielsen did a study back in 2000 and found that the majority of users hated this feature. Get Elastic reader Adam H also shares his distaste for silly password reminders: “Inevitably, I can’t remember what answer I gave to the question ‘What is your favorite dessert?’ “

I agree.

8. Benefits of Registration – 14%

Among the very few sites that reinforce why customers should take the time to sign up, the following benefits were listed:

  • Faster check out
  • Save multiple shipping locations
  • Save multiple billing options
  • Exclusive offers
  • Order tracking
  • View order history
  • Faster customer service (reps can pull up customer info quickly)
  • Save items to wishlist
  • Save
  • Check reward point balances
  • Incentives for referring friends
  • Birthday and holiday reminders
  • Access across partner stores (GAP, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piper Lime)

Although some retailers get really creative with their benefits pages, I prefer bullet point lists – makes it easier to scan.

9. Username – 13%

Email addresses make fine user names — they’re easy to remember and unique. Because you need to have a user email addresses anyway, save them the trouble of trying 15 times to find a username that’s available, or having to remember their preferred handle appended with a bunch of numbers. Playing the username creation game is frustrating as it forces the user to re-enter password information every attempt.

10. Non-Canadian Friendly – 13%

There are at least two ways you can prevent Canadians (or other citizens of the world) from doing business with you. You can make your postal code field only 5 digits long, or you can include a dropdown menu of just US states.

11. Required Birthday – 7%

A few reasons you might ask this:

1. To segment your list 2. To verify the registrant is at least 13 years old 3. Customer relationship building – Macy’s includes a line: “In the future, we will use this information to send you something special”

12. Terms and Conditions – 6%

I noticed this is not very common among retail websites, though very common on other types of site registration. I’m interested to know what percent actually read these statements! 3% of sites used an “I am 13 years or older” checkbox.

13. Personalization Questions – 5%

The Disney Store, J.Crew, Bloomingdale’s and American Eagle Outfitters provided fields for optional personalized information like:

Screenshot of Disney’s Personal Options

Disney communicates well that this information will be used to provide a more personalized shopping experience.

14. Captcha – 1%

Only 1-800-Contacts used a Captcha to make sure you’re human.


Note: iBuyDigital and Office Max required credit card information up front and were excluded from the study for this reason.

What’s The Ideal Registration Form Length?

Usability experts recommend keeping forms as simple as possible because the longer your form is, the lower your completion rate. Don’t ask for too much information. I see there being 4 reasons for this:

  • Trust- The amount of information I give you correlates with how much I trust you to use this information responsibly, and that giving you this information somehow will benefit me. If I am signing up to create a wish list, I am not ready to enter my credit card information.
  • Time- If a form looks overly complicated, I might not be that motivated to fill it all out if there is a shorter alternative (competitor I have done business with or have recently visited)
  • Typos- The more fields to fill out, the more chance for error – especially with captchas and password fields, causing user frustration and abandonment
  • Technical Issues – Programming errors and bad design (problems for international users, for example)

However, if address and billing information will inevitably be required to process payment and ship goods, it also makes sense to collect this information in one go. You definitely don’t want to double up on information in all your different forms. What’s the solution?

  • Give users the option of filling in what they are willing to share with you
  • Clearly state the benefits of providing this information now (i.e. this will make your check-out process so much faster)
  • Distinguish required fields from optional fields with the conventional *

I like Macy’s form for a few reasons:

Macy’s Registration Screenshot

  • Uses * to indicate required fields
  • States short and sweet benefits to creating an account
  • Birthday and gender are optional, but there is an incentive to enter birthday
  • The postal code input field is long enough to accommodate 6 and 7 digit entries
  • Customers have the option to also “Add My Card”

However, the faint “Add My Card” button is easily overlooked this way, and would be easier noticed if the fields were included on the form, only made optional. 1-800-Flowers’ makes the option of adding additional personal information (this could easily be a billing section too) hard to miss and provides a rationale for adding it to boot. But without using asterisks to differentiate required from non-required fields, many people will assume it’s a requirement.

1-800-Flowers Registration

Another option is to make the registration process very fast and simple, and take customers to an overview page where additional information can be added at any time, like Land’s End:

Land’s End Sign In

Land’s End Account Overview

Lovely. The one beef I have with this design is the right hand sidebar looks too much like Google Adsense and may be ignored entirely.

The most annoying required section was Foot Locker’s survey. This is great for the marketing department, but if requiring this information is not bad enough, using the word “survey” communicates the customer is offering Foot Locker free market research. Customers need to see how any additional personal information is going to ultimately benefit them, not you.

Foot Locker Required Survey

Registration Form Usability Tips

  • Make the email address the username
  • If a password requires a number, clearly say so
  • Ask user to confirm email and password
  • Always distinguish required fields from optional with an asterisk
  • Avoid security questions, instead send a confirmation email with login details
  • Send welcome / confirmation emails within 24 hours if possible
  • If you sell internationally, make sure your registration form is usable
  • Don’t ask for more information than is required
  • State benefits of registration using a bulleted list
  • For unusual information items, explain how this helps improve customer experience
  • Avoid hiding important information in graphics that look like ads or buttons that can be overlooked
  • Allow customers to enter billing address and credit card information at a later date
  • Don’t pre-check email opt-ins, and don’t send promotions without gaining permission

Related Articles

73 Responses to “Registration Usability – 87 Registration Forms Tested”

  1. I love your posts Linda. Glad to have you on our team here at Elastic Path BUT…I would modify a couple points.

    1. Email address as username

    I hate this simply because I use many different email address/password combinations in my daily routine. I can never remember which email I used on which site (I now use a Firefox plugin called Sxipper – LOVE IT.) Authentication errors usually spit back non-specific messages like: your email OR password is incorrect, try again. Plus, what happen when you no longer have access to specific email addresses (switch service provider or companies). What then? Not everyone uses Gmail or Hotmail.

    2. Send welcome / confirmation emails within 24 hours if possible:

    I would vouch for immediately. If someone takes an action (willingly), the longer you delay will reduce the chance of additional offer responses (and we know that offers should be in confirmation emails, right!)

    I think lots of us marketers are guilty of pre-checking boxes.

  2. @ Jason,

    Great feedback. As a user, you have identified pitfalls to the email address as log-in, that there are complications with both methods. I am looking forward to universal adoption of Open ID as well and hopefully this will close the gaps.

    Sxipper is part of Vancouver’s vibrant tech community and I really should look a bit closer at it.

    Until then, online retailers will have to make the call between email-as-username or invent username (which can be equally difficult to remember if you have multiple handles across sites?)

    2. Full agreement, instant response is best. I’m not sure what technical barriers may exist to doing so, if any. But I observed some welcome emails coming in days later :-D

    Re: pre-checking boxes – one could argue that pre-checking saves the user time to check the box themselves. But to be purely permission based, I imagine you have to remove any chance someone signs up unwittingly.

    I do believe that pre-checked boxes are done in good faith and those who use them don’t intend to spam – they just run the risk of being perceived as spam after the fact. There’s always exceptions to the assumption though ;-)

  3. Jason, I disagree with the email-as-username, *unless* the site uses an inline/AJAX username verifier. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a site reject the signup because the username is taken. Plus, I think it’s easier for *most* people to remember an email than a username.

    We switched from username to email on (, and the number of contacts from users saying they couldn’t log in dropped dramatically.

    Do you guys read Functioning Form? Luke Wroblewski’s blog? Good stuff…

  4. Perhaps we can come to a happy medium. Either or. Plus, have the option to change it! Maybe it is the lock-in that I despise.

    I was in attendance for a talk Luke gave at Web 2.0 in San Francisco earlier this year.

  5. Hi Linda,

    Great post, and good to have you on the EP team!

    Just a quick note on your tip to distinguish required fields from optional with an asterisk – this is only needed if the form contains optional fields. If all fields are required, the asterisks just add visual noise.

    Also, I second Dave’s recommendation of Luke’s blog, and especially his Web Forms Best Practices slides:

  6. @ Dave,

    Thank you, I didn’t even think of an inline verifier like I’ve seen on Gmail – consequently none of the test sites had one. Yes, Luke’s blog is awesome and I’m glad he has an English version!

    @ Dmitry,

    Thanks for the link to the slides, that’s a great resource!

    Absolutely, asterisks are only helpful to distinguish required fields from optional and are unnecessary if no fields are optional.

    Going through the slides, I see Luke recommends breaking up forms and not asking for everything at once. For ecommerce sign ups, what is your opinion on?

    Wearing a user hat, if I’m signing up for an ecommerce site that I eventually will have to enter billing and address information – I like to have a choice to either enter that immediately or postpone it. In this case, is it more usable to ask for more information all at once (while keeping it optional?)

    I like Macy’s idea of giving the option to enter additional information without cluttering up the original form with a button, but thought the faint button was easily missed. Eye tracking data would be nice to test that theory.

    I love Land’s End’s method, where I can quickly sign up and then “I’m in” and can control what I do next. I see a nice dashboard where I can add more information or just get shopping.

    But I lean a bit more towards the 1-800-Flowers approach where I can enter extra info right away without digging for new forms later, or just skip if I’m in a hurry (after the 86th sign up you just want the fast option!) Personally, I always scan for *s because I’m lazy and want to provide the minimum.

    It almost makes you “think” less as you don’t have “find” the links to add address and credit info after you’ve signed up.

  7. An either/or option is a good one if it’s clear and doesn’t add to the visual noise.

    The option to change a username would be nice, but is very rare to see, mostly due to database design. I’d think there’d be an easy way around that with a different design, though…

    Linda, how about password strength verifiers like Hotmail? Kinda neat…

    I’m really surprised you haven’t run into more Captchas; they seem to be ubiquitous (but that may just be the sites I visit). I find them annoying, but it’s surprising how they seem less annoying if the site seems apologetic about using them (“Are you human? Sorry, we have to ask” brings my goodwill resevoir back up considerably).

    This is a very interesting topic, and has been the subject of many passionate “discussions” around our office. Thanks

  8. Another couple of potential pitfalls in using email address as a login:

    1. Not all customers have an e-mail address. This may sound unbelievable, but depending on what market you are in, a portion of your customers may be non-computer / internet savvy, and simply do not have an e-mail address. (I’m not making this up. A portion of *our* customers fall into this category)

    2. Multiple cusotmers may share the same e-mail address (a whole family, or husband/wife may use the same e-mail). This would prevent a husband to have an account on your site if his wife previously registered. This may or may not be an issue for you, depending on what you are selling, etc…

    3. Customers may not be willing to give out their e-mail address (fears of SPAM, etc…).

    However, I am of the opinion that for the majority of users/customers, using the e-mail address as the username is a great way to go. Here is what we are implementing in all new applications that we are building:

    A. Issue the customer an ID number when they register. This is their primary login ID.
    B. If the customer provided an e-mail address, then tell them that they can also use this e-mail address to login to their account.
    C. On the login page, allow the customer to enter either their ID, username, or e-mail address. Even in the case of a husband/wife with the same e-mail, the e-mail/password combination should still be unique, and therefore you should still be able to figure out which account should be accessed from the back-end.

  9. Rose says:

    We are having an internal debate with the security and engineering team.

    Do you we need to get an email validation confirmation for registration?

    User scenario-
    - email address is given as the username
    - user goes through the registration process then sent a validation notification to registered email account
    - user needs to go to their email within a 48 hour period open confirmation message then click on validation link.
    - user is taken to log in screen and then enters email address and password and is now a validated registered user.

    Is this the typical scenario when requiring an email address as a user name?

  10. @ Rose,

    You know what, I expected to see this more often because it’s so common with registrations for site forums and other types of web memberships. Only one online store I tested had it. And I’m not sure why that is.

  11. Rose says:

    Interesting, I suppose the ecommerce sites are worried about suppression of registration and sales. It does cause a use case hurdle and interruption in the conversion flow.

  12. @ Rose

    Spam filters are so unpredictable that reliance on email confirmation for completion of a transaction step is out of the question in my mind. A user loses the scent if they are forced out to check an email account as well. They may notice a message from a long lost friend, a competing offer, or a couple dozen Facebook notifications and PRESTO – lost.

    You have to ask what the purpose of this is. Is it to maintain a clean email list? Reduce fraudulent transactions? Confirm the email had no typos?

    What is the cumulative reduction in conversion by making the confirmation a necessary step?

    Does it pay off?

  13. This is one of the web’s most interesting stories on Tue 22nd Jan 2008

    These are the web’s most talked about URLs on Tue 22nd Jan 2008. The current winner is ..

  14. I strongly disagree with the whole notion of registration as part of product purchase. It serves no purpose. If you want any benefits that some registration processes require, then make it OPTIONAL.

    Perhaps some other studies on the registration process being a BARRIER to order fulfillment should have been included

  15. Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips |

    In the words of Guy Kawasaki, it’s about \"the Art of Registration Pages, Op

  16. Brandon says:

    Good tips. We changed our registration and order process at a few months ago to allow for optional membership registration during or after checkout. We encourage our members to register to track their orders easier and to earn discounts as well as contribute to the community. We immediately saw an increase in order completions, as well as an increase in actual membership registration since we now allow the customer to decide whether or not they’d like to be a member. We soon realized not everyone wants to have to log in to place an order, nor is it need, even for repeat buyers.

  17. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips – Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog I’d like to share my personal experience registering for 87 accounts with the top online retailers and offer some tips for registration form design. (tags: accessibility best captcha design usability registration ecommerce forms tips) Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  18. @Plusone,

    I used to feel that way too. I remember making a purchase with American Apparel and being so happy I didn’t have to register to check out. However, I’ve made 2 purchases since then and both times had to re-enter all my information. There is no option to create an account, so I had no choice. I like to see options – checkout without registration, or with registration if the customer intends to make repeat purchases.

    @Brandon, yours sounds like a nice and usable solution.

    We did a post not long ago on registration as a barrier too.

  19. The need to reenter name and address details on subsequent visits does not require registration. In our cart we gather all the info needed without registration and there is a checkbox for those who want details saved.
    An order cannot be completed unless all the fields are completed, incuding email adress and phone. I don’t know of any cart system that does not have this system in place.
    In our cart, each order is assigned an order ID which makes it very easy to locate and deal with any queries.
    All this from a free cart (

    Registration, by the very meaning of the word is not a purchasing action, but a sign-up to a newsletter/membership etc

  20. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips – Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog Following up on previous posts about permission marketing and welcome emails for ecommerce websites, I’d like to share my personal experience registering for 87 accounts with the top online retailers and offer some tips for registration form design. (tags: business reference usability web-developer web-developer/ecommerce) [...]

  21. [...] This great blog post describes a usability study that looks at the registration frequency for different types of required information such as email, password, address, etc.  Go take a look if you’re designing a registration process. [...]

  22. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips – Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog 87 Registration Forms Tested (tags: usability webdesign) January 23rd 2008 Posted to Links [...]

  23. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips – Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog (tags: usability forms accessibility) [...]

  24. Amazing that so few people mention the benefits of registration. Perhaps we’re missing out but we’ve always gone by the “make it as easy as possible” and keep most everything we do completely free. Great post. Thanks.

  25. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips – Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog (tags: usability ecommerce registration webdesign forms accessibility design webdev) Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  26. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips 87 registrations forms tested and analysed [...]

  27. [...] Kawasaki has link to a great post by Linda Bustos on tips for designing website registration [...]

  28. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips – Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog Good, thorough study. Did a similar study, but we couldn’t publish ours. (tags: usability registration forms) [...]

  29. [...] Walker pointed out a very interesting blog post called “Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips.” The author(s) analyzed the registration procedure of eighty seven online retailers. One of my pet [...]

  30. [...] capitato abbastanza per caso, su un post di Linda Bustos che analizza l’usabilità delle procedure di registrazione nei siti di E-commerce.  Non [...]

  31. Registration Usability – 87 Registration Forms Tested

    Linda Bustos of “Get Elastic: The Ecommerce Blog” shares her personal experience after registering for

  32. [...] de les webs on es demana registar-se per a utilitzar el servei.Avui he trobat un enllaç a Get Elastic, un blog d’e-commerce on es parla una mica més sobre el tema. A la secció d’articles [...]

  33. Saul says:

    Good article and a good list of best practices.

    Reminds me of the time my wife was ordering online from a major US retailer. The “international order” form would not accept her phone number. Error message was just “invalid phone number”. After phoning the retailer and waiting on hold she finally got someone to figure out that the form expected a US format phone number – even though this was for international orders.

    I reckon it cost her about $50 in call charges to help them debug their web form. She didn’t get anything in return. Needless to say…no repeat orders there.

  34. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips – Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog (tags: usability registration forms webdesign) [...]

  35. [...] Filed under: E-Commerce — Sandip @ 6:17 pm Recently I have found an interesting post on Get Elastic blog. It is a must read if you not just a registration form user but much more than that. It gives [...]

  36. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips – Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog Impressive list of ecommerce login assessments. If you develop a membership or ecommerce site, this is definitely worth checking out! [...]

  37. [...] trawling the net for interesting sites/blogs and came across this post on how registration forms tend to be designed, and how they might be [...]

  38. [...] Design-Objekt: Registrierungs-Formular In einem informativen Artikel auf schreibt Linda Bustos über die Ergebnisse der Untersuchung [...]

  39. Trevor Lohrbeer says:

    A personal pet peeve for all web sites that require registration is the restriction on certain characters for the password. The more secure your password is (eg: using numbers or symbols), the less likely it is to be accepted. I can see NO reason whatsoever to restrict the characters a person can use for the password field.

    This gets more frustrating if you use secure passwords for different classes of web sites, and then have to create variations because the site you are registering on doesn’t like dollar signs or numbers.

  40. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips – Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog (tags: usability ecommerce registration accessibility forms tips) [...]

  41. [...] Registration Usability – 87 Registration Forms Tested . Via – Guy Kawasaki Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  42. [...] Registration usability – 87 registration forms tested Une étude qui s’intéresse aux caractéristiques des formulaires d’enregistrement (la semaine dernière il s’agissait de formulaires de connection) et qui donne une liste de conseils à suivre pour améliorer l’expérience utilisateur. [...]

  43. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips: Get Elastic testte 87 registratieformulieren van e-commerce website. Het artikel beschrijft alle bevindingen en sluit af met een aantal concrete aanbevelingen. [...]

  44. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips – Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog (tags: ecommerce registration forms review user interface design) [...]

  45. Gerard says:

    Can anyone tell me the best way to capture customer’s acceptance of our terms & conditions so I am able to send Amex, Discover, Visa & MasterCard a screen shot for disputes.

    Thank you in advance

  46. Hi Gerard,

    I’m not a developer so I don’t know off-hand. I would imagine this could be done with custom database programming.

  47. [...] Registration Usability: 87 Registration Forms Tested Registration Usability – Permission Email Dos and Donts [...]

  48. [...] Remove Unnecessary Fields: Do you really need to ask for your customers date of birth and gender? Even if your customers aren’t concerned about privacy issues, odds are they’re lazy and might just abandon your excessively inquisitive form. Here’s some great advice from Get Elastic on registration forms. [...]

  49. [...] retail emails I have signed up for have not asked for confirmation (double opt in). If the recipient doesn’t take action on this [...]

  50. Gerard that is actually a good question. If your customers must check an agreement box, you simply note that when disputing.

  51. [...] Ecommerce Registration Usability Tips | Get Elastic [...]

  52. Not sure if I’m the only one – but when survey questions like those at FootLocker are made required, I *will* take the time to fill them out…but with the wrong information. Just to be a PITA because I don’t like the form. :)

  53. Philippe says:

    Hi Linda,
    I am intern in a small company in Berlin where I discovered your website. First I find it really great because you are clear and interesting.
    Second I have a question to ask you. I work on the usability of the website we are developping and especially on the emails we send. My question is: do you think it is a good idea to write in the registration confirmation email the usermane AND the password? I already received emails with these data. I find it very convenient, at least more convenient than clicking on the “I forgot my passyord” button because I sometimes have to change it or worse the system gives me a new one… But for security reasons, I am not totally sure it is safe enough. Do you have tips about it or juste a personal feeling? That would be great : )
    Thanks in advance.

    Best regards,


    • I’m not a security expert, but for usability I also appreciate a confirmation with the username and password sent to me, so I can do a search in my own inbox without resetting the password if I forget. I’m not a fan of password hints, they can be as tough to remember as emails and passwords!

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    get personal loan personal loan forms personal loan interest secured personal loans

  55. [...] customer to check-out without creating an account (Tip: do explain benefits of sign up when giving customers the [...]

  56. [...] There’s a ton more registration form usability tips here. [...]

  57. What is unfortunate about the results of top converting checkout pages, is that you cannot sort by type of product or checkout.

  58. [...] couple years ago I signed up for accounts at 87 of the top online retailer sites. I figured it was high time we revisited this topic, since most ecommerce sites use account [...]

  59. Bjoern says:

    Here in Germany the customers may be a little bit different!?
    The most used shopping system is xtcommerce in which the customer can choose during the checkout if he wants to order as guest, create an account or login. In the software or via the shop-template the shop-owner can configure these options.

    In a discussion about which way is the best with or without “guest account” it comes out that it seems to depend on the targetting customer group.

    I’m thinking about an checkout without any separat login page/box. The first information a customer has to enter is his email address which is check (via e.g. Ajax) if it’s already known so a password-inputbox will appear if not the whole registration form (with the most needed informations) will appear.

    What do you think about this way?

  60. [...] Web Usability Registration Usability: 87 Registration Forms Tested [...]

  61. SMO-Eric says:

    nice post.

    1.seems that you didn’t test reg.forms with user name availability?

    2.i like’s idea of reg form usability:after a single entry of my email address,i’m in and using the full site.and the password is sent to that email address so i can use it to re-log in. this is an example of extreme simplism of usability,i think.

    • Hi Eric,
      I was looking at a given set of online retailers from the Internet Retailer 500 Guide. These are the most common practice among that set and the user name I entered in all of them was no problem. It could be that some sites had a “try again” mechanism for dupe login names (especially Amazon) but that was not observed in this data collection exercise.

      Re: approach, while that simplifies password creation, most folks are going to forget that long string of characters or will need to change it to something more memorable, so it actually adds a step, which detracts from usability. Just my opinion on it.

  62. SMO-Eric says:

    Hi Linda,thanks for replying.

    Good news that you see no usability issues in the user name availability thing.Just mentioned that out of curiosity and wanted to know if that was missed.’s approach,I agree with you about the follow-up bothering.If it is a usability flaw,however,depends.If you emphasize on getting more new registers,then this may be a great idea; otherwise,it just bothers.

    Nonetheless,it adds no additional step – it actually equates because the register form omits a step.

    And that’s my opinion. :)

  63. When setting up a form for my site I am going to require an address for shipping hardwood and laminate samples. Do you think this will make less people sign up for the samples?

  64. We went for a super-simple yet whimsical design for our free account signup page over on – reviewing the membership features and including a fun illustration:

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