How many times have you wanted to use a website, only to be asked to fill out an overwhelming and overcomplicated form before even getting in the door? We've all been there, and it sucks. If you're business has one of these sites, chances are you're missing a lot of opportunity to create, amoung other things, new and avid members.
One site that seems to do it right is Kayak, a one-stop travel service that lets you search and book flights from dozens of airlines and other sites. It's a great tool, a joy to use really, and here's why: they make my life easier, but not just in their service offering. Kayak found the soft spot in me recently: dead simple Web forms.
Here's what I mean:
I've been using Kayak for awhile now, but never ran into this until just last week. I had just done my second search in one visit, looking for a round-trip flight from San Jose, CA (SJC) to Milwaukee, WI (MKE). Having just arrived at my search results, this popup appeared. I could have just closed it and went on my way, but a few of things called out to me:
- The title: "Become a Kayak Member. It's FREE."
- A set of 1-2-3 features crafted to my current experience with the site
- Only three form fields to register
- A conversational tone that appealed to the Internet savant in me
While not the most glorious visual design, the fundamentals of this registration popup are sound as steel. The message is that Kayak wants to help me make my life easier, beyond just providing me with a one-stop travel service. They're looking to improve the experience I have on their site, not just with travel in general.
The 1-2-3 tells me they're not messing around—they have 3 great reasons for me to sign up, all centered around my searching experience. At this point, they crafted a unique registration form for me based on what I've done on their site. Now the follow through is on my end, and as I looked at those three simple forms, I was dedicated to the end. The best part, perhaps a fourth selling point, was that they've been paying attention: I fly out of San Jose a lot.
Kayak walks a fine line here, but really pulls it off. By watching which departing airport I search for most often, they've helped me kickstart my registration. All I had to do was give my email address and a password.
The conversational tone they used helped nudge me along, too. "Home Airport" and "Finish" are much better phrases than "Departing City" or "Register." They spark emotion and a feeling of completeness, something that will subtly help users glide through registering.
Take a lesson from Kayak: make it as easy as possible for new members to get in the door. Captchas, spam protection, and numerous security questions should be antiquated in favor of downright intuitiveness and ease-of-use.
How are you helping new members sign up and using your service?