I am currently redesigning a portion of an e-learning site; one of the
goals is to add an expanded online profile, which will be used when
the site adds more social features.
Currently, all profile questions are asked at the account creation
step and all are mandatory: age, gender, home town, country and
native language; the idea is that this data will help the company
analyze usage stats. I'd like to remove the mandatory setting from
at least some questions, then move them into a separate "create
This is my first time working on a profile page, which raises several
---What information can be made mandatory without creating too big of
a roadblock for users?
---When is it best to collect profile information - upon account
creation or after users have signed in?
---Where is it better to use pick-lists vs free-text fields?
Since many sites have profiles, I imagine all these questions have
been asked and answered a thousand times over. Do you guys have any
suggestions on good resources to find information like this? I'm
looking both for information specific to social features and on a
broader level. Thanks!