User comics about sign up challenges

by Amelia on July 13, 2010

Mobile sign up challenges


Detail - Galina registers on the iPhone

I was inspired to create my first user comic by a potentially challenging sign up form we were about to implement. This was back at the tail end of 2008. WebEx was just launching our first mobile app: WebEx on the iPhone at MacWorld. The thought was we would offer sign up for a free trial of WebEx directly on the iPhone too. Using the same number of fields on the iPhone that we did when people signed up online. Uh oh. That seemed pretty challenging to me, and so I put it into a comic using the expressive Galina from to help explain the obstacles this would present to sign up.

It told the story! And helped explain the user’s context: it’s harder to type on any mobile device, especially on an iPhone, and someone is more likely to have less time and less focus. Therefore… using a long form with many fields would not encourage sign ups.

Galina registers on the iPhone

Galina registers on the iPhone

See the full comic here.

Submit: the wrong moment for a long-winded sign up

More recently, I was explaining how requiring a long registration form for access to simple content or functionality isn’t well received today by many, particularly when they are in the midst of other tasks or at times when they’re in a rush. This was more of a quick sketch of stream of consciousness while dealing with minor frustrations like this. It’s all about placing these hurdles at the right point in a flow, or using some kind of incremental engagement.

An iPad comic helped to illustrate:

Create Account to Join a Meeting

I have to do all this right now? I'm in a hurry

Sign up forms are one of those white rabbit problems: many of us feel like we’re always late, and there’s rarely time to do something extra without feeling at least a little irritated about it.

That’s why I was intrigued by the beta sign up for Automatic’s Vault. Sure, it actually asked me for a number of decisions and inputs. Including how much I’d want to pay for the product when it goes live– which is basically a low-tech pricing survey. But the beta invite was presented as an application to get a “golden ticket” (who wouldn’t want one of those?) in a smooth wiki-like UI, and sprinkled with clever placeholders for the blanks on the form. And nice follow through—after I “submitted” I got a love note in my inbox from the Automatic team. Nice!


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