[thelist] OT: Programmer's night before Christmas

martin.p.burns at uk.pwcglobal.com martin.p.burns at uk.pwcglobal.com
Wed Dec 20 06:50:38 CST 2000

Memo from Martin P Burns of PricewaterhouseCoopers

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<tip type="permission marketing">
Having worked on a site which got almost no registrations because
the registration process was excessive (and had low usability), I
can very strongly see that asking for too much info too early loses
you users (and therefore revenue).

Think of it as developing a relationship - you don't ask for kinky
sex on the first date (usually!). You need to spend time building

It's the same on a site (and with any business); you can only
get your reward of information appropriate to the level of
trust which your user/customer holds you in.

* Only insist on the information which is relevant to the task
   which the user is trying to complete.
* Don't ask for credit card info until they need to give it to
   complete a transaction.
* Always justify *why* you want the info - demographic info allows you
   to *reduce* the amount of irrelevant sales pitches you make.
* Don't ask for a full address until you need to deliver something.
* Don't ask for everything all at once.
* View a user's data as something valuable: to get them to give it
   to you, you need to offer something in return, such as more info,
   a personalised experience, an opportunity to contribute, a t-shirt,
   an entry to a prize draw for a holiday etc etc.


Please respond to thelist at lists.evolt.org
To:   thelist at lists.evolt.org

Subject:  [thelist] forms was: Programmer's night before Christmas

Users hate to fill out long forms that require them to divulge everything
from their annual income to their dog's name. If a person feels, "Damn!
It's going to take me 15 minutes to fill all this crap up", they're not
going to bother. Keep registration forms short, especially for things like
subscriptions to email newsletters (you really only need the email address

But the sales guy yells, "we need our demographic data!" :)

He has a point. But if you really need to get all that info, make it
optional *after* registering and offer a carrot of a lucky t-shirt, mug,
whatever. Make it worth the user's while to fill up all the fields. But
don't make it compulsory.

Lastly, don't ever expect people to fill in their salary honestly. It just
isn't going to happen. Try to provide salary ranges instead. That has a
better chance of being more accurate

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