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September 07, 2004


Ben Smith

Pete, I actually started to comment here... ...but it got rather lengthy, didn't know whether you wanted such a drawn out feedback/opinions with this post... ...so I decided to email you my comments. Feel free to replace this comment with the email I'll send, if you do want it posted here. But, I also couldn't just leave this post uncommented... ...hence this little place holder!

Scott Allen

I think the process is excellent. I'm a huge fan of embedding training into your UI, which is essentially what you're doing. Very few social software sites do this well.

The 4-step process is great. As you asked, it would be a good idea to let people know earlier in the process that some of the steps are optional. But definitely try to get the info up front rather than later.

As far as the content, it depends on the crowd you're after. If you're after the bar-hoppers, the digerati, and the Burning Man crowd, then remove the up-front restrictions and just put a reporting system in place. If you're going after "middle America" and mainstream businesspeople, the up-front controls are better. The old "we're all adults" mantra is tired -- the reality is that many people ARE easily offended, and they probably won't report it -- they'll just leave and not come back.

Again, though -- I really like the overall approach on the registration.

My $0.02...

Scott Allen

A couple of other things I noticed as I actually went through the process...
- Need to add fields for MSN Messenger and probably Skype.
- I thought it was very strange that it didn't take my phone number in the formt 555-555-5555 and required me to put the area code in parentheses. Make area code a separate field, or just have the Javascript parse the data, but this was cumbersome.

Ben (posted by Pete)

Ben... I am adding your feedback here. Everyone's feedback is so different, so I think it is good for other people to read different perspectives before they comment.


Pete, honest opinions here, think of it what you wish...

Is the registration process daunting?

Anything more than 1 step is daunting, IMHO, but that's a relative question, a better question would be... ...Do we provide enough incentive for people to sign up? I figure you'll have two types of people that click on the sign up link on your home-page (non-members) 1~Lookyloos, simply clicking to see how daunting the sign up is, and 2~SeriousFolks. Anything more than one step will always be daunting to Lookyloos and the SeriousFolks will go through what ever you ask of them. However...

Is the value of completing the 4 step process clear?

Yes. Providing the side explanation is very helpful... ...lets people know why they should enter the information.

Do the "Why Do this" messages to the right of the forms help explain the value?


Are the bulleted points on those messages good enough value propositions to incent you to fill out the forms?

Sure. But don't count on everybody reading every part of it. When I do decide to take up my valuable time to fill out an online form, I want to get the process done as quickly as possible... ...so I'm not likely to read everything, only what I have to.

If we switch to a one step process, can we get away with adding a few more fields to it?

First of all... What more information do you want? If its not vital, leave it out. KISS principle here. And secondly, one step process is where I'll throw my hat in, and you can KISS that one too. I like your idea of starting with the bare essentials and growing from there. The problem lies with getting established members to update their vague information after the fact.

One method that might work would be to get the vitals and then give them 2 options: 1~Done. and 2~Question them. This lets them feel like their in control, they can stop here, or through your well orchestrated question, decide that "yes, it would be nice for other people to see what I look like, maybe I should take the next step and upload my picture"

Should we bother?

Change is the spice of life. But you could always test it out. If there's no significant difference in new sign-ups, change it back. Tweaking things openly shows commitment to excellence. You may never get a thank you, but they'll know you care.

Another option we are considering is having one long form.

I'm sorry, how valuable did you say my time was? One long form means I have to go through it all, even if I don't fill it all out.

Also, should we make it clearer at the outset of the process, that certain steps are not mandatory? Would that help?

Yeah, more instructions for me to read... Keep It Simple Stupid.

Does the profile approval process turn people off because we are censoring content? or because there is a delay before their public profile is viewable or updated?

Hmmm... Although I do like instant gratification... ...It does feel like I'm part of an elite club after I've been approved. I'll take the middle road on this one.


Well, there ya go. Think of it what you wish!

You know, funny thing, I was going to sign up on the live site, (I signed up for testing purposes under the secure one earlier) but I got to the uploading a picture part, and decided to wait until I got around to getting a suitable picture of myself to upload... ...and maybe I don't have to have a picture... ...but I seemed to feel that the sign-up should be done right. Anyway...


Derrick Oien

Two main comments.

1. I am using Norton Internet Security and didn't see any of the screens explaining to me why I would have done what I was doing. Normally, I would have bailed after the first screen. I am not sure how this is coded, but my firewall viewed it as an ad, so I didn't see it. I think you will find this to be the case increasingly with Internet users.

2. Privacy Policy - The privacy policy wasn't firmly stated on the Terms of service. I actually had to click a link at the bottom of the page. Then there was nothing immediately to ensure me that I will not have my name sold. Even when I got to the appropriate language it felt a little weak. Again, I would have probably bailed at that point.


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