The joy of reg

Recently-enjoyed registration forms

Bigger is better!
Red bars in the inputs? It’s the first time I’ve been delighted by required fields.
Overdone, but at least they tried.

Your reg form is your (un)welcome mat

I’m always bothered by web designers who like to kick off site designs with the homepage. Typically, users spend the least amount of time on your homepage. Better to figure out that content page template, no? Google is your real homepage these days — if you’re smart about SEO and navigation tools, many users will never browse to your index page.

But registration forms are still a common gateway in many web-based experiences. So why do designers ignore them? Forget the homepage, the registration form is the real time to say “hey, it looks like you’re ready to join the family — welcome!” This is your user’s wedding, why are you making it feel like a shotgun trip to city hall?

Common reg form mistakes

tiny asterisks indicate required fields
“Game over man! Game over!”
too many fields
incomprehensible error messages
Misspent youth
nonexistent helper text

A proliferation of Web 2.0 websites, communities, and applications means a proliferation of registration forms to consider. Until OpenID saves us from relentless registration repetition, it’s up to designers to make reg forms better.

This is important: at Meetup, we saw small changes like removing an unnecessary input field (less fields = less work for users) increase form completion by several percentage points. How many users, actions, or sales are you losing to bad form design?


  1. this comment box is lame. i want something big. HUGE, damn you. to the point that any disoriented, drunken or completely incapable user, when faced with the form, has no other option but to simply type some crap in and submit.

    because it doesn’t really matter what their content is. only the act of submission is paramount. everything else just so much hubris.


    p.s. nice blog, keane.

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