Sign Up Page Issue
Updated: Feb 10, 2019
It's very rare users will get confused with the sign in and sign up page because they are used to placed at the right place.
The screenshots showed above is captured from spectrum.com.
I tried to create an account just like using a usual website, but things don’t work as my way on spectrum.com or ATT.com. These websites require users (residences) to create an account by checking the availability first and then make a phone call to open the account. As the first time user signing up an account like this, I totally lost clue when I saw a page like that (see pic 1). At first, I was looking for a “sign up” button on the main page. Eventually, I found “My Account” instead (see the first pic). And then I entered the page showed in pic 2. On the left is the “sign in”. Without thinking, on the right must be the “create an account”. It took me to the website (showed in pic 3) where requires my phone number or account number. I was confused and thinking why would they need my account number as I thought I was just creating a new account. Obviously, this is not the right place. Look carefully on the right side of picture 2, that is “create username”, not “create a new account”.
Reasons Behind User’s Thoughts:
The main page displays a hot line which seems that it would like customer to make a call. However, first time users may not know that it requires to call in order to open a new account.
Sign in page usually comes with a sign up section, in case the user needs to create a new one. However, this website put “create username” at the place where the “create a new account” should be put. Users build their own mental models without even thinking about it, which automatically helps users to categorize things simply and easily in lives (2). Every user has his/her own pre-constructed model in mind when they are using a website. Designers’ conceptual model should as much similar to users’ mental model as possible. Users could possibly not notice the change on the sign in page, since a lot of other websites/apps come with a sign in page together with sign up function.
why people need to call in order to open a new account? What process can be done online, or maybe require a more private information in person or through phone?
What makes the username so important that the website designer would want it put in a new section, instead of putting it in a line next to the sign in section, for example, “I don’t have a username, create one”
Suggestions On Design:
According to Peter Morville (1), the goal of information architecture is to guide users to achieve their purpose and do what they expect to do. One of the main components that Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville mentioned in Information Architecture for the World Wide Web is the importance of organization schemes and structures, which define how designer categorize and structure information for user. In this case, customer will be misleading to create a user account instead of open service account with service provider.
Removing the “create username” section (on the right side of pic 2), instead, moving “create username” down to the sign-in section, so users won’t get confused thinking it as a “sign-up” function. As mentioned in the article about “We think therefore it is” (2), if conceptual model doesn’t match the user’s mental model, it will create a certain level of cognitive friction. Even though there is a label of “create a username”, it can still make things very complicated. It creates the cognitive friction for users. Luckily, they will take some time to adapt. If not, they will feel very unsatisfied with the website.
The users would have read the sign in section, found out it requires a username, and then realize they might not have one, finally would love to create a new one. And then, they will look for links for “no username” or “create a new username” near to the sign in typing box, not like the ones sit farther away and user might possibly get confused thought they might be for something else.
Morville. Peter, and Rosenfeld. Louis (1998), Information Architecture for the World Wide Web: Designing Large-Scale Web Sites