Is your website too information hungry?

To the average user, registering with a website is annoying. If you’re just trying a new game out, or posting a comment on a blog then it feels like a waste of time that could be spent on typing the comment or playing the game.
To the webmaster, registration may seem necessary to use many features of your site or game. For instance if you run a chess game, you may want users to register for multiplayer features.

As a developer you need to think about how much information you really need.  Most web registrations require at least 3 points of information; they are email, a unique username, and a password. However in many cases, you don’t need all three of these let alone even one.

  • Email: Besides password resets, and website newsletters, and message replies there’s no reason to require an email. Uniquely identify the user by an incrementing number in the database instead. If the users are expected to pass their account name to other’s in order to play together, be creative and make a unique address system.
  • Username: Usernames are great as they can link a user’s online person to their posts or game. However its not necessary and just extra fluff if their just commenting or trying out the game. Let there be Anonymous Cowards.  If you run an online game, then give nameless users an automatically generated name. If you want users to have a way of uniquely identifying themselves try making up an address for them, you can theme it to the game (such as: 123 fake st. for a sims game, Quadrant 78.249.34b for a space game).
  • Passwords: Truth is that there are many people who only use one computer, and it’s not public. You can always set a cookie, and make a password optional for those who do use multiple computers or don’t want a cookie.

By using these suggestions, your users can spend less time figuring out usernames and passwords and will hopefully find your website more enjoyable and return later.

Filed under: Web Development
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