Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, October 11, 2004

User Registration Sucks

In today's Alertbox issue, usability guru Jakob Nielsen, strikes positive chords when analyzing in detail the reasons that make newsletter subscription and access effective.

I know I am not the first one to notice or complain about how annoying or counter effective user registration can be, but what I am here to point my finger to is how deeply unmotivated is the reason still driving many online publishers to force lengthy registration forms onto the very people that they should bother the least.

Jakob Nielsen writes:

"The main reason that the Post's subscription interface scores less than 100% is that it requires user registration, including many nosy questions requesting personal information.

This is presumably driven by the myth that user demographics are the way to target ads on the Internet, but registration impedes usability and drives away subscribers.

The net result is thus lower advertising revenues.

(Also, you should target computational advertising based on each user's explicit behavior, which defines a demographic of one; this is much more valuable than stereotyping people as members of broad groups.)"

The guy couldn't say it or report it in a better or more effective way.

Registration of users sucks. And deeply so.

If you need to get an email and a first name to personalize your newsletter content, fine. But when you start asking too many personal questions, to the very same people who are supposed to give their undisputed attention to your are just asking for too much.

Make newsletter registration highly visible, easy, simple and essential. State out clearly what you are going to offer and make your news envoy show up not just like any other junk email out there.

In essence, those are the items Jakob Nielsen points to for getting things right in newsletter publishing. More detail in his full article.



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posted by Robin Good on Monday, October 11 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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