Almost all the services and apps we use today require some sort of sign-up process (or 'onboarding') element to the user experience. There are plenty of explanations (both good and bad) of how to navigate through the different apps' experiences. For a well-crafted onboarding process, the design and content need to work together as part of the website layout to make a simple, quick and delightful experience.
Simplicity, visual hierarchy and lots of white space can help draw the eye to the action the user should complete: typically an input field and a few buttons. In addition, the actionable elements should stand out strongly. The tone of the content matters and should reflect what the forthcoming action is.
The onboarding process should be as quick as possible, so users can get on with using the service. Stay away from asking for data that isn't required; focus on the minimum you need to make an account. All the other optional data can be added by the user at a later date, in their account or profile settings. The process should be supported by simple notes that let the user know there are a few steps.
Finally, a very important part of the process is bringing delight to the user, so they're excited about using the product. You can make the user feel welcome with things like user-friendly feedback prompts (so no 'ERROR 422 User not found'). From a design point of view, visual cues about what the user is doing – such as checkmarks for input validation, or a shade of green for feedback – can be helpful.
Here are three sites that have nailed it.
Slack follows the golden rule of keeping it simple. Feedback prompts are quick and well-written so starting a group takes less than five minutes.
02. Cotton Bureau
Cotton Bureau lets users sign up with just an email address and a password. Once they are ready for a purchase they complete their profiles, which are filled with hilarious placeholder text.
Grocery delivery service Instacart, keeps its sign-up quick and simple. The submission button reads 'Shop now' (rather than a vague 'Submit') and leads to the main shopping page.
This article originally appeared in issue 276 of net magazine.