The book has several between-chapters sections that go into detail on certain topics.
Organizations love registration forms - making users enter personal information (or at least create a user account with a password) to access their site.
It's difficult to do this well, because the user has no "relationship" with the organization and is being hit up right away for personal information. And unless your site offers something truly unique (and not many do), chances are that most users will leave immediately when being asked to register.
Tips for better success:
- Explain why you're asking - If you give them justification, users are more likely to be amenable
- Offer a reward - Explain the benefits of registering, from the perspective of the user. You may need to go to lengths to provide sufficient detail.
- Keep it brief - Make it as short as possible, asking only what you need right now. If the user can create a profile containing additional data about themselves, make that a separate task.
- Avoid Invasive Questions - Be aware that any personal information is much more sensitive on the Internet.
- Ask only once - On registering, give the user a way to enter the site in the future without having to go through the registration process every time.
- Ask all at once - Do not have a multi-screen registration process.
- Help is shown to the right of or underneath a field where data is entered.
- Brief help text can appear right on-screen, more lengthy text in a pop-up
- Providing a phone number so the user can call for human assistance
- The "help" text is not informative at all (A 'location" field with help text that says "enter your location")
- The "help" text tells users the things they already know (explaining the difference between home and work phone numbers)
- A link to a "how to complete this form" page that contains line-by-line instructions for the entire form (like IRS tax form instructions)
Farewell to Pop-Ups
In the early days of the Web, pop-up windows were used by advertisers as a way to get the attention of people who didn't really want to be bothered. They go a bad rap, and for a few years, the general rule on pop-up windows was "never." That's changed a bit. Research has shown that they don't confuse or annoy users, and some even expect them to be used in some instances.
Guidance for pop-up windows:
- Ensure that the user expects it - If the user clicks something to pop the window, it's more acceptable than one that automatically pops up when the page loads.
- Ensure that there is context between the page and the pop-up: stylistic elements (fonts and colors) should be similar, and it helps if the title of the pop-up corresponds to the text on the screen
- the size should be a quarter to a third of that of the main screen. If it's less, consider merging it into the page itself. If more, consider making it a separate page.
- Within the pop-up, provide the user a way to close it. (Not mentioned: you should mop up pop-ups on unload of a page if the user doesn't close them)
- Ensure that there's only one pop-up at a time, and that the pop-up window gets focus when it is launched.
The author mentions pop-up blockers, which are still in existence, but the latest versions generally inform the user that the site has attempted to launch a pop-up and allows them to accept it (and set preferences on a site-by-site basis).
The author also fails to mention/consider the in-screen modal window as a substitute for pop-ups - it would be interesting to learn more about this alternative, but I think the same general principles would apply.