How Not to Make a Sign up Form
By Justin Premick March 20, 2007
We’ve talked a lot in this space about making it as easy as possible for your subscribers to get on your list. Recently I came across an opt-in form that highlights just how frustrating signing up can be. And this site wasn’t even marketing anything!
Recently I came across an opt-in form that highlights just how frustrating signing up can be.
And this site wasn’t even marketing anything!
Here’s What Happened
I ordered a new cell phone online a couple of weeks ago.
I received email notification from the carrier that my order had been shipped, along with a tracking number (the email was OK, but could be improved – another topic, another post, another time) and a link where I could go to track my package.
So I head over to the tracking page, and in addition to my package information, it has a form where I can submit my email address to get status updates on the package. I’m excited to get my cell phone, so I immediately head for the form.
Here’s what I see:
Now, there are about 20 boxes here where I can/have to make a decision, if you count text boxes, dropdown menus and checkboxes. That’s 19 more than I need, give or take a box.
But I Figured, I’m a Smart Guy, I Can Do This
I enter my name and my email address in the first two boxes, as the form appears to indicate I should. And I submit the form. I even remember to mark the checkbox at the end of the form.
I got an error message telling me I hadn’t specified an email address. Which was news to me, since I put my email address in the box labeled “Your E-Mail Address:”
So I look at the form again, and I decide that maybe I’m supposed to put my email address in one of the text boxes on the left side of the form. So I do that instead, and I mark both checkboxes to the right of my address, and I submit the form again.
Now, I get another error message telling me I didn’t specify my email address.
Let’s look at the form again:
Evidently, this form requires three steps:
- Put your email address
- Put your email address again, so you can get the updates
- Mark a checkbox – that is required – in order to agree to the shipper’s Terms and Conditions
What a Pain!
I did finally fill out the form successfully. However, this was for information that I desperately wanted – to know when my new cell phone would get to me. And I still almost gave up on it.
How many of your subscribers would put up with an opt-in form that they had to submit three times before they got it right?
I walked away from this with two specific criticisms of the form:
- It asks for my email address twice, and the addresses are apparently unrelated – for the heck of it, I filled the form out later with two different addresses in those boxes, and the updates only came to the address I entered in the second box. What was the first email address box for?
- It asks me to mark a checkbox to agree to Terms and Conditions, which I have to do in order to submit the form successfully. Why? It would be just as easy to state that “by submitting this form you agree…”
Overall, though, the form was Just. Too. Complicated.
The Moral Of Our Story
I can assure you I won’t be using this shipping company to send things. If they make something as simple as an email signup form that tough, I can only imagine what it must be like to do business with them as a whole.
Make it easy for people to get the information they want from you. Don’t make them jump through hoops.