A prevailing direction in online registration has been to ask only for the minimum information required to create an account.It sounds like a surefire formula: less=easier=better=more customers. Despite whittling down what we ask for at registration and innovations using 3rd parties as authentication points and basic profile data sources, we never seem to get past treating registration as an unpleasant tax that new members must be hurried past.
No matter how immediate the gratification of minimalist registration, the approach boxes us into few choices for crafting the experience past the front door. As such, we end up dropping new members into an impersonal and uncalibrated signed-in homepage, or into an orientation or personalization process that is also abstracted from the core experience.
I’m a believer in “Less is More”, but I’m not sure that persistent problems with new member registration are just about the number of fields. Can taking signup out of the frame of mere account creation turn it into a more coherent first step of the new member experience? I think so.