Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sign-Up Form Patterns

LukW on sign-up forms ...

"Though, I've long advocated that Sign-Up Forms Must Die, for now they remain a staple of online life. Recently Smashing Magazine surveyed the landscape of sign-up forms by looking at patterns in 100 popular Web destinations and their registration forms . The data they extracted is a catalog of existing practices and as a result should not be considered design recommendations. However, it is interesting to see these trends and ultimately if they change over time.

* the registration link is most often titled “sign up” (40%) and placed in the right upper corner of a landing page
* registration forms tend to opt for a simplified layout to avoid distractions for users (61%)
* most registration forms are one-page-forms (93%)
* registration forms attract visitors by explaining the benefits of signing up (41%), 28% provide no additional information about benefits
* titles of the input fields are highlighted bold (62%), rendered in color (20%), or plain text (18%)
* right-aligned labels are used on 41% os registration forms surveyed, 30% used top-aligned labels, 29% use left-aligned labels
* 54% of the forms surveyed required at most 5 input fields, 34% of the forms required 6-8 input fields, while 12% required over 9 mandatory input fields
* 78% do not use asterisks to highlight required input fields
* 62% of the forms had no optional fields at all, and 98% of the forms had less than 5 optional fields
* 9% use a progress indicator to show to the users where they currently are and which steps are required
* 86% of registration forms surveyed have input fields arranged vertically
* 57% of the forms surveyed provided help text next to the input field, 10% of help text appears dynamically
* Help text was most often placed: below the field (57%), on the right side of the field (26%), above the field (13%)
* 30% of the forms surveyed displayed only an error-message at the top of the form (no input fields were highlighted), 29% had highlighted input fields with corresponding messages next to the input field, 25% used both error-messages and input fields
* 22% used real-time validation with Ajax, 14% used JavaScript-error warnings
* Only in 18% of the cases it was necessary to confirm the e-mail
* In 72% of the cases it was necessary to confirm the password
* 52% of the sites don’t use captcha
* A Cancel button was used only in 8% of the cases
* Left-aligned submit-buttons (56%), centered Submit buttons (26%), right-aligned Submit buttons (17%)"    (Continued via Functioning Form, LukeW)    [Usability Resources]

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