There is no single best way to have users sign up for an account online, because there are too many variables to be considered for this aspect of the user experience. Varying factors can include security, purpose of the account, understanding of the user at the time of signup, what information they must have ready and what they will have to do next, among other things. So to point to a cool new site – even a competitor’s – and say “I want a one-field signup process like that!” does not necessarily serve your needs or your user’s. In fact, there is an awesome site I recommend to people that suffers greatly from a confusing signup process because they tried to simplify it too much.
A default Twitterface theme is selected, but the user can either change it or design their own interface, including background, logo, colors and icons. Because that sounds like a lot to do in the signup process, I made it easy by telling users they can come back and do this later.
A four-step process may seem like a lot to do before arriving at the point of the product, but I feel it is the smoothest way to enter the user into our system. An alternative would be to let them signup and dump them straight into their Twitterface page, where they would need to figure out how to go down to the settings and make all the changes we just had them set up in a few steps. That idea didn’t feel very pleasant to me, despite the appeal of getting a user in front of the product immediately.
Getting people to signup is a marketing and conversion issue not covered in this article, but the signup experience itself is your user’s first impression of using the product for their own benefit. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this design and see other great examples of signup processes. Link me up! 🙂