Easy Usability Tip For Registration Page Conversion Lifts

Author: Gab Goldenberg

When asking people to fill in the fields, be clear on the format of the answer you expect. Specify what characters can be used, and what characters can’t be used.

Don’t wait to correct people until after they’ve clicked continue, because you’ll be using up your visitor’s supply of patience. Advise them at the outset of the right process. Try combining this with AJAX error notifications that don’t wait until people click continue, in order to be more efficient.

The more you dip into that reservoir of patience, the fewer conversions you get.

If you require people to use both letters and numbers in their passwords, say so in the form. If you want it a certain length, say so.

Password must include numbers and letters -  why didn't you say so??
Password must include numbers and letters – why didn’t you say so to begin with??

Similarly, how was I supposed to know that a field labelled “City / State / Country” would not accept forward-slashes?

You’re begging for slashes by naming the field like that – it suggests the format people should answer in.

City / State / Country Field does not accept '/' as a character. Argggh!

Ironically, in the very same form, I saw the following very clear, and commendable instructions:

Fill in your name as it appears on your passport.
Fill in your name as it appears on your passport. Clear. Concise. Avoids nicknames, initials and other abbreviations. Effective!

If you liked this post on usability, add my rss feed to your reader and check out my book with 30 tactics for advanced SEOs. You may also enjoy this bit on SEO for splash pages.

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  1. Good stuff, Gab. 1. Form designers should also say if a field is case sensitive and what the expected case is / cases are. Ditto full stops (periods) in names. 2. Another behaviour that irritates is not saying what sort of entry was expected when reporting an error. Just asking people to do it again is unmannerly. Not even highlighting which field is 'wrong' is even more annoying. 3. The one that gets my blood pressure soaring is where the screen flips back to an empty form if /any/ entry is not as expected. That's a hanging offence. Much of this is basic human factors, of course, and is not specific to SEO. Cheers, Roger PS A commenting system that doesn't let people preview their response is also not ideal. 8-)

    Comment by Roger Whitehead - November 4, 2011 @ 6:53am
  2. Excellent points there Roger! I think you generally captured the issue with your point #2 about stating what type of entry was expected. And #3 being a hanging offence - spot on! That's frustration and a half! Fair point on the commenting system ...

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - November 10, 2011 @ 12:36pm
  3. Good tips Gab. This is one of the things that annoys people the most and is a killer for your conversion rate. It's weird how some companies spend a lot of efforts in optimizing their sites for search engines, but totally forget about user friendliness. Good SEO is much more these days and can't be practiced anymore in isolation of conversion optimization and usability.

    Comment by Michiel Brand - July 1, 2012 @ 3:09pm
  4. @Michiel - That's exactly the point. Good for you for getting that before others! @Uncle Roger - I find click-to-preview annoying, because I can already read what I've written in the comment box. What's the advantage on adding a preview button?

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - July 2, 2012 @ 10:59am
  5. > I find click-to-preview annoying... I think it can be useful. Seeing what I've written presented differently, perhaps in a different font, sometimes helps me detect typos.

    Comment by Roger Whitehead - July 2, 2012 @ 3:20pm
  6. PS A commenting system that ignores paragraphing is also less than ideal. 8=)

    Comment by Roger Whitehead - July 2, 2012 @ 3:22pm
  7. Good points there Uncle Roger - need to look at better formatting for the comments, and perhaps a preview button!

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - July 3, 2012 @ 2:40pm

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