Best Practices for Account Creation

11 Jun 2011 - 1:54am
5 years ago
5 replies
3104 reads
Michelle Bacigalupi


I've looked on UI Patterns and haven't found examples of the pages to create a new account. The flow steps I currently have is for the new customer to enter basic contact information and then navigate to a second page to enter credit card information - with the option of using the information from the contact page. I am being 'pushed' to combine the contact info. with the credit card info. in the hopes of a higher conversion rate. It will make for a very long page which is a poor experience. Ideally, we'll do some A/B testing but we need to get out the door first.

Does any one have examples they can point me to - both good and bad.

Thank you,



12 Jun 2011 - 8:57pm
Amy Silvers

Without knowing what kind of service you're designing for, it's hard to make recommendations. Is credit card info required just to create an account, or can you ask the user for that info later, e.g. when they're making a purchase? In general, it's best to ask for the minimum amount of info necessary for the user to proceed on the site, so that's something to consider as you design. Also, a long single-page registration doesn't have to be a bad experience; there are ways to arrange the sign-up fields to make the process seem less lengthy and time-consuming. One-page sign-up is often considered desirable, but it isn't always feasible, and a well-designed multi-step or multi-page sign-up that doesn't make the user jump through any unnecessary hoops can be effective too.

Luke Wroblewski and Caroline Jarrett both have excellent books on form design that cover sign-up processes (among other types of forms), and you might also want to check, which has had some good posts on sign-up and progressive engagement/progressive disclosure. Designing Web Interfaces, by Bill Scott and Theresa Neil, has some useful examples of sign-up patterns too; you can find some of them on Flickr as well as in the book.

13 Jun 2011 - 3:05pm

Amy offers great advice... Luke Wroblewski is the form master and is the best reference.

It's nearly impossible to advise you without knowing more about the interaction variables. Sometimes a 2 -3 step process serves to reassure the customer that their data is treated very carefully (you must create an secure account before entering your cc info and then that last screen clarifies that your card will not be charged until you hit that big 'submit' button) but other times its an annoyance. What are the scenarios you're designing for?

And just because one has to scroll, doesn't necessarily make it a bad experience.


12 Jun 2011 - 11:05pm


Consider the single point of entry concept, so that the user only enters an item of information once regardless of how many times and where it is used. This obviously has some storage and programming requirements, but it would enable your product to pre-fill any fields for which the information has already been collected, perhaps satisfying part of the need to "combine" the contact information.

If you need to push back, look for use cases where credit card info and contact info may be different, or give the user a box to click that says: "Check here is contact info is the same as credit card info."

I have usability tested this for Expedia and ATT, among others.



13 Jun 2011 - 12:38am

Broadly speaking? Fewer screens = better. That can break down based on the complexity of the information you're gathering though.

Panic has always had an excellent online store, but it doesn't have an "account creation" model.

Amazon makes account creation relatively seamless, considering the complexity of their offerings.

13 Jun 2011 - 1:05pm
Richard Carson

When a client asks for you to "skin" a product. What type of work should this entail? Is this purely means for look and feel? How could this affect other parts of a design that one should be aware of?

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