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Login and signup forms user experience

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When we browse around, we see many sign up and login forms. Some more complicated, some less complicated.

I really love signup forms that are really short, meaningful and I can get in the site in under 30 seconds.

The trend is (and this is really a positive thing) that sign up and login forms are as simple as possible to let users in and enjoy the web application. But there are some forms that are so complicated that users just go away after 2 minutes.

Consider the registration form below:

lutrija.hr Registration

This a real example how not to do it. As you can see, this is just the first step on the form and there are four steps. It took me over five minutes to register myself on this site! Why? Do they cheer every time they get a registered user? They could register a user with a simple form and ask for the info after first login. Or something similar.

Fortunately there are other solutions which are user friendlier.

One of the solutions is the OpenID initiative which allows user to sign in in every app which uses its simple API in just one click. Other is the idea of the single sign up/login form.

Below is such a solution from buy.com.

buy.com Login

It is really simple and user friendly. You enter your email address and check the appropriate radio button to register or login. The problem is, that if you are a new user, you get redirected to another form which collects more info like you can see on the image below:

buy.com Sign up

This complicates things and we have another big form.

Another interesting solution is to have one form with two action buttons. Something like this:

<form action="login.php" method="post">
    Username: <input type="text" name="username" /><br>
    Password: <input type="text" name="password" /><br>
    <input type="submit" name="action" value="Signup"> <input name="action" type="submit" value="Login">

This way, user clicks the appropriate button and gets signed in or registered. Another advantage is that if the user clicks Signup by mistake, you can check if the username exists, if it does and the password match, you just log in the user.

Another solution is to provide no sign up at all and use an OpenID or similar to log in your users. The example can be seen on Stackoverflow log in page below:


User has a plethora of options to choose from and will probably have an account on one of the listed sites. This is the solution which is the most interesting and appealing as it takes only one click and no activation, boring big forms, captchas and is pretty secure.

What do you think? Please comment about above solutions and what is your opinion of the best user experience regarding signup and login forms that can be found on the web.

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  • SF

    Personally, I prefer to keep my online accounts separated. While I might be willing to log in with an OpenId that was specifically intended for being used on multiple sites, I never use my Google or Facebook account to log in to any site that isn’t operated by Google or Facebook, respectively.

    That said, huge signup forms can be frusterating, but they only bother me when they are gathering what seems to be unnecessary information. For example, if I am signing up for an eCommerce site, I expect them to ask for name, address, and maybe credit card information. However, a simple web forum or blog has no apparent need for this information, so I will hesitate to sign up if it is required during the registration process.

  • I don’t think that you can make every form with only “two fields”. The site that you named as the bad example is a lottery site and perhaps legal regulations dictates its registration form.

    I personally use both my Google account and Facebook. Google for tech and dev stuff, and Facebook’s for social.

    • Zvonko

      @Luka Thanks for your comment.