Age vs Date of Birth in sign up form

20 Jan 2010 - 2:30pm
4 years ago
22 replies
2601 reads
rajunov
2009

Hi all,
The site we're doing is a contest users enter and submit photos. It
requires users to be over 18, or if they are between 14 - 17 they
have to go through a consent flow.

I got a question from a designer about what would be better in terms
of UX for the sign up form - asking the user for:
- their age with a text input /or select, OR
- their date of birth, with 3 select fields [day, month, year]

Just wanted to get some input about your experience with this.

Comments

20 Jan 2010 - 3:06pm
jodah
2009

All things being equal, the fewer data entry points, the better.

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20 Jan 2010 - 3:12pm
Victor Lombardi
2003

Date of birth can be handy in the future because you always know the
person's age. If you run another contest, you can invite just those
over 18, or if they're signed in you'll know what flow to take them
through.

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20 Jan 2010 - 3:15pm
Sean Gerety
2009

Another thing to consider is that birth dates are specific and people may
not want to give you the date because of security reasons. I'd recommend
age or even age ranges.

Cheers,

Sean

On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 7:06 AM, jodah jensen <jodah.jensen at gmail.com>wrote:

> All things being equal, the fewer data entry points, the better.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48490
>
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20 Jan 2010 - 3:22pm
Eduardo F. Ortiz
2008

You could design a smart UI where there are three options;

I was born:
[18 or more years ago today]
[14 to 17 years ago today]
[I'm not of age]

That way the user just needs to select one option instead of facing multiple
entry fields.

Eduardo

20 Jan 2010 - 3:25pm
Maciej Bieganski
2010

I would not consider terms of use (and legal issues) would be
justifying birth date entry.

In this concrete case the actual data you want to collect is not an
exact BIRTH DATE but AGE RANGE. So, I'd prefer age-range choice
(agree to Sean)

Of course, this question should be asked at the top of the form to
make sure that users under 14 were not uploading photos and getting
confused at the end.

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20 Jan 2010 - 4:38pm
Alan James Salmoni
2008

Assuming the business and legal case stands up to accepting either,
you could offer users the option to denote their age status (ie,
above or below 18 years) or enter their date of birth. This would
give you the chance to offer value to customers if they enter their
DoB (eg, "if you want you can tell us your date of birth and we can
remember that for the future"). It also helps to sell the idea that
you're not demanding to know their specific personal details which
is a plus point from my own research.

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20 Jan 2010 - 3:14pm
Ricardo Couto
2008

There is a difference between the two that you might use in the future..

Age: is easier to fill, faster. But.. if you need the age of this user in
the future, you may do a mistake.
Date: not so easy, not so faster. But.. you can calculate de age of the user
forever..

On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 9:06 AM, jodah jensen <jodah.jensen at gmail.com>wrote:

> All things being equal, the fewer data entry points, the better.
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48490
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

20 Jan 2010 - 3:19pm
Zareen
2009

I think the three selctions are a waste of time if you are not
planning on using the data collected for further use (e.g targetting
users for another marketing campaign based on their birhdays)

But if your not sure what you will do in future, its safe to collect
detailed info

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20 Jan 2010 - 9:34pm
benry
2008

Luke W's Form Design book says to use smart defaults and that a good
solution would be to ask people to explicitly select the month, day
and year they were born. Also let them know why you are asking for
this information.

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20 Jan 2010 - 3:18pm
M Larsen
2009

As a user, I almost always abandon a form that requires my birth date
without any apparent legal or governmental need.

One's birth date is up there on the list of most-private private
data, and I immediately question how and to whom my information may
eventually be passed or sold. I don't necessarily have the same gut,
paranoid reaction when prompted for my age, and although one could
extrapolate the year of my birth from that, I assume if it gets sold
or passed along with other data I've provided, it's all so much
market research.

A seasoned contestant doesn't worry that the contest owners can use
the info he provides to hack his online bank account or other
sensitive accounts, and avoids the contests that require that kind of
information for entry (no matter how nice the prize).

Tobacco company websites I imagine go through the same issue, as do
M-rated game companies (Rockstar North requires the 3-field birthdate
and I just lie on all 3, knowing the point is really to find out that
I'm over 18).

I would just ask for the person's age, and emphasize that they will
be disqualified from winning if they require consent forms and do not
follow that flow...

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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20 Jan 2010 - 3:06pm
rajunov
2009

Just to clarify, the contest will last around 40-50 days, but we are
looking at ways to extend site use afterwards. Also, the prize is
significant, and will require real verification of user age, which is
a big incentive not to lie (I suggested putting a 'notice' above the
dob/age field highlighting this).

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20 Jan 2010 - 9:56pm
Arshad Tanveer
2008

Just curious, but why three selections and not a date picker or text
box where one can key in MM/DD/YYYY?

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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20 Jan 2010 - 3:17pm
M Larsen
2009

As a user, I almost always abandon a form that requires my birth date
without any apparent legal or governmental need.

One's birth date is up there on the list of most-private private
data, and I immediately question how and to whom my information may
eventually be passed or sold. I don't necessarily have the same gut,
paranoid reaction when prompted for my age, and although one could
extrapolate the year of my birth from that, I assume if it gets sold
or passed along with other data I've provided, it's all so much
market research.

A seasoned contestant doesn't worry that the contest owners can use
the info he provides to hack his online bank account or other
sensitive accounts, and avoids the contests that require that kind of
information for entry (no matter how nice the prize).

Tobacco company websites I imagine go through the same issue, as do
M-rated game companies (Rockstar North requires the 3-field birthdate
and I just lie on all 3, knowing the point is really to find out that
I'm over 18).

I would just ask for the person's age, and emphasize that they will
be disqualified from winning if they require consent forms and do not
follow that flow...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
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21 Jan 2010 - 5:38am
Edo A. Elan
2004

I remember a situation where the 18YO were the main audience and the
14YO were added at the insistence of an overzealous marketing
person. From a product point of view, support the 18YO first.

In any case, why not:

I am ( ) 18 or older, or ( ) over 14 and my parents agree to this

then unhide whatever further questions using CSS.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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21 Jan 2010 - 9:11am
suewah
2008

I've done a variety of contest sites across many age groups. The
difference between 1 and 3 fields isn't going to matter to most
contest-doers. I say this because their motivation to "win"
outweighs the need for "speed" of a form. On most sites you will
see that you're average contest participant isn't your site's
ideal target audience in the first place.

charles sue.wah.sing
www.suewahsing.com

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21 Jan 2010 - 9:31am
Lucia Hurtado
2010

Senior Interaction Designer vacancy at Telefonica I D Madrid (SPAIN).

We are looking for a highly motivated and talented Senior Interaction
Designer to join the team of Interaction Designers, Visual Designers
and Researchers. Designers and researchers work in collaborative
teams with project leads, strategists, engineers and domain experts
to generate innovative concepts and solutions for multiple screens:
TV, PC, mobile and more.

The Senior Interaction Designer will collaborate with researchers on
generating insights, leading ideation sessions with interdisciplinary
teams, and articulate product concepts, interaction philosophy and
models, as well as use cases and benefits of ideas. The individual
will need to work conceptually using models and story boards, as well
as pragmatically through detailed interaction flows and
specifications.

Send your CV to: e.seleccion1 at tid.es

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21 Jan 2010 - 12:22pm
Melanie St.James
2010

I wholeheartedly agree with Sean Gerety and Michelle Larsen that birth
date is private data and should not be requested, unless absolutely
legally required to do so to that degree of specificity. I personally
use a made up birth date for these types of requests (still in same
age range). I even taught my pre-teen son to protect his personal
information when going on the web to sign up for game accounts by
using a fake one (close to his actual age) . As mentioned above,
providing age categories is a much better model.

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22 Jan 2010 - 1:23pm
Jarrod Lombardo
2008

Wow, I'm surprised by the number of people that consider birth date
private information. Since one's birth date and much of one's
address history is a matter of public record (in the US at least)
there's basically ~0 risk in freely giving out your birth date.

A text entry form that shows how to input the date (e.g. MM/DD/YYYY
or YYYY-MM-DD) would work best, especially if you think you might
have future contests where age matters.

--1980-04-16

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22 Jan 2010 - 2:24pm
Mark Schraad
2006

birthdate and drivers license = all access... through in the social and it
gets even scarier

On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 4:23 AM, Jarrod Lombardo <ixda.org at jarrod.spum.us>wrote:

> Wow, I'm surprised by the number of people that consider birth date
> private information. Since one's birth date and much of one's
> address history is a matter of public record (in the US at least)
> there's basically ~0 risk in freely giving out your birth date.
>
> A text entry form that shows how to input the date (e.g. MM/DD/YYYY
> or YYYY-MM-DD) would work best, especially if you think you might
> have future contests where age matters.
>
> --1980-04-16
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=48490
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
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>

22 Jan 2010 - 2:54pm
Jack Dodd
2010

>From a strict UX standpoint, Ortiz has it exactly right, age range
options are simplest. When it comes to additional data uses, a short
explanation, or "why we ask" is required (for user satisfaction) to
get more specific date (mm/dd/yyyy is simplest.)

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24 Jan 2010 - 4:05pm
cfmdesigns
2004

On Jan 20, 2010, at 11:30 AM, Michelle Rajunov wrote:

> Hi all,
> The site we're doing is a contest users enter and submit photos. It
> requires users to be over 18, or if they are between 14 - 17 they
> have to go through a consent flow.
>
> I got a question from a designer about what would be better in terms
> of UX for the sign up form - asking the user for:
> - their age with a text input /or select, OR
> - their date of birth, with 3 select fields [day, month, year]
>
> Just wanted to get some input about your experience with this.

Two things come to mind on this:

* How inclined to lie are your users going to be? If they perceive a
benefit to being "older" (or "younger"), or they don't want to reveal
their age, or they just want to f-ck with your system stats, they will
put in a false value -- typically 21, 69, or 99/100 (read: lowest
legal age, a sex reference, and something allowed but ridiculous high
and thus obviously false). You see this all the time on social
networking sites, especially hook up sites. If they are inclined to
lie, you can get better results with the full birth date entry, since
it's harder for them to calculate to false answers they want to give
the most. (You'll still get lots of lies, of course, but less obvious
ones and probably fewer overall.)

* Are you going to do anything else with the birth date info, such as
providing horoscopes, sending birthday greetings, or unlocking
additional functionality when they turn 18? If not, then the simpler
Age value is easier to implement and might be the better choice.

-- Jim

25 Jan 2010 - 9:16am
Anonymous

I agree with Michelle and others above. Birthdate is private, and it is cumbersome, if you dont need the specific date for your purpose. And you don't.

I would not even count reuse of the data at all. That is an internal issue, that should not affect the user. Your job as an interaction designer is not to help your manager collect future data info for datamining, but to get the end user through your current design with least possible friction.

One simple boolean question: "Are you above 18 [yes][no]" is the simplest and easiest solution for the user.

I would also help the decision by supplying a small *why we ask as suggested by Jack Dodd. That should be below the primary choice and interaction.

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