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IP.Board 3.2.0: Sign In & Registration Interface

In this entry, I'll be showing the new streamlined Sign In and Registration process in IP.Board 3.2.

Registration in particular is a key interface in any community. Too complex, and users will be put off signing up and taking part, potentially costing your community dearly. We've known for some time that our current registration process has needed streamlining to improve user conversions, and IP.Board 3.2 has proven the ideal time to implement the changes.

Step by Step

Our registration routine (when IP.Nexus is used) is unusual in that it behaves as both a store and a sign up process (to enable users to select a subscription). While not everyone uses IP.Nexus, it's important for us to consider this aspect and find a suitable solution regardless of the products used.



To solve that, we've changed the registration routine to be a clear step-by-step process. First, a subscription is chosen if available. Next, account details are entered. Finally, the user gets confirmation. A step-by-step interface gives users clear expectations of the process they're about to follow, which is great for usability.

Reducing clutter and confusion

The current registration routine involves a number of disparate steps, collecting information that doesn't warrant an entire screen individually. This simply puts obstacles in the way of users trying to join.

The account details step now consists of just one screen. COPPA, terms and conditions and of course account information is all covered on the one screen.

COPPA, if enabled, appears as a modal popup. Instead of asking users to select their birthday (used only to verify they were older than 13), we now just ask the simple question: "Are you over 13?". Easy.



Once they confirm, the popup is dismissed instantly, and the form is ready for them to begin.



The registration form now consists of just 4 fields (6 if you use the Q&A and ReCaptcha features). So what's changed?

  • Display Name - we no longer show the display name field upon registration. Requiring users to choose two names invites confusion, and the difference is not apparent until the user is familiar with the community. But fear not, the display name feature hasn't disappeared. Instead, we set the display name to be the same as the log in name during registration, but users are free to change their display name later in their UserCP.
  • Confirm Email - There's no need to confirm the email address field. It's plain text, and many users simply copy and paste the first field anyway, duplicating rather than fixing an error.
  • Time Zone - Having the user choose their timezone simply adds to the burden of registering. Instead, we now try and determine their timezone automatically behind the scenes, and it can always be changed in the UserCP.


Another change is that the community terms and conditions are no longer presented on an entire screen. While important, they again present a roadblock to getting a user registered. Instead, they're now shown in an inline popup, and the user simply checks a checkbox to signify their agreement.

Custom profile fields set to 'show on registration' also appear on this page as usual. However, we urge you to consider whether a particular field is essential at registration! More fields equals more work for users, so the fewer the better!

Inline Sign In

Something that has been requested for some time is inline sign in, and I'm pleased to say it's now available in 3.2.



To simplify the process, users signing in with 3rd party systems such as OpenID will still be required to use the full sign in page. In our experience, though, the vast majority of users use the default IP.Board sign in, and the new inline popup should make the process a little easier for them.



We hope you find the changes give a boost to your community when IP.Board 3.2 is available. By streamlining registration and sign in, we hope to encourage your guests to convert to members and contribute to your community.
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It's great to see these improvements. They are welcomed.
However, the trend, i'm noticing, is that more often people decide to use the Facebook or twitter login instead. Fewer people want 'yet another' login and password for a site.

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Is it possible to have the age limit to be selected by ACP? In Italy, for example, the minimum legal age is 14 years old, and sure many others countries have limits different from your 13.

One more question, is it possible to have more rules to be accepted than just the board rules? In some European countries the privacy rules should be expressly accepted while in other countries is adult content to be explicitly accepted.

:)

COPPA, if enabled, appears as a modal popup. Instead of asking users to select their birthday (used only to verify they were older than 13), we now just ask the simple question: "Are you over 13?". Easy.

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It's an improvement but filling out custom profile fields is compulsory at my Board and I would prefer that it had it's own tab. This would help make things less cluttered and hopefully make them fill in the details we ask for correctly.

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@AlexJ - Terms of Service will show in a modal window inline.

@CycleChat - I'll double check on that. I thought it did show a confirmation.

@dr. Jekyll - The COPPA system really is meant to comply with the US COPPA law, which specifically is for 13 year olds. If your law is similar enough, I would encourage you to simply change the language strings from "13" to "14" using the language editor in the ACP. The backend does nothing to validate the age itself.

@3DKiwi - I can't see how having a separate tab for custom fields makes it easier personally.

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Sorry for my English.

I think the disappearing of the "Display Name" field from the registration form is a mistake - because one of the good things with display names is that the others users don't know your login name and if some user have a weak password, hackers can't login because they don't know the login name. Now, while you changing your display name, the change is written in the "Display Name History" in the profile, and now everyone can know your login name.
For your attention.


However, IPB3.2 looks very nice! :)

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One idea to get rid of the annoying retyping even of the password would be a checkbox like "Reveal characters" or "Show characters" as used in Windows 7 Wi-Fi connection security key, Android OS in many places, PS3 dialog boxes involving a password, etc...

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[quote name='Robi Gorgin' timestamp='1302722516']
Sorry for my English.I think the disappearing of the "Display Name" field from the registration form is a mistake - because one of the good things with display names is that the others users don't know your login name and if some user have a weak password, hackers can't login because they don't know the login name. Now, while you changing your display name, the change is written in the "Display Name History" in the profile, and now everyone can know your login name.For your attention.However, IPB3.2 looks very nice! :)


I think most people use the same name for both fields anyway.

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I don't see any mention of the validation process here. Has it changed at all? I have my board set for user and admin validation. My biggest annoyance is receiving an email when a user has completed their registration, rather than when they have validated. I would really like to see this changed, or at least an option put in for the admin to specify when the notification email is sent (to the admin).

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[quote name='cmerkord' timestamp='1302750740']
I don't see any mention of the validation process here. Has it changed at all? I have my board set for user and admin validation. My biggest annoyance is receiving an email when a user has completed their registration, rather than when they have validated. I would really like to see this changed, or at least an option put in for the admin to specify when the notification email is sent (to the admin).

This would be great. But in order for it to cover my forum's needs, there should be an option to define two email addresses, one for general info related questions (the currently used email address), and another one for admin related issues.

For example, my forum is the online community of an officially registered society. So the email currently set in ACP is info@mydomain.tld (which I do not monitor), and therefore I have the email notifications for newly registered members off. So in my case it would be ideal to have two email addresses set. The one that is already used for issues related to the frontend, and one new (something like admin@mydomain.tld) which would be used by ACP internally to notify me for such issues like the registration of a new member.

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[quote name='cmerkord' timestamp='1302750740']
I don't see any mention of the validation process here. Has it changed at all? I have my board set for user and admin validation. My biggest annoyance is receiving an email when a user has completed their registration, rather than when they have validated. I would really like to see this changed, or at least an option put in for the admin to specify when the notification email is sent (to the admin).


As far as I know, it hasn't. This blog entry is specifically about the interface; I'm not heavily involved in technical changes like that. Feel free to start a topic in the feedback forum where the devs will see it :)

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On a similar note will this also provide a link between the profile fields and nexus client fields? I need to capture custom profile postal address fields on registration in order to post a membership magazine and would like these to also be used by nexus as the client postal information.

Look's great though.

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[quote name='ZakRhyno' timestamp='1302707805']
[quote name='Rikki' timestamp='1302707544']
Zak: In my screenshot I have nexus installed, and I chose a package. If you don't have nexus installed, it doesn't 'skip' step 1, you'd simply see:

STEP 1: Account Details; STEP 2: Confirmation

There'd be no mention of choosing a package :)


Okay then I guess my last question then is if I have nexus install but have no package option offer and I told it click the box to not be put on the registration screen, do I get the same out come? :)


Bump for @ Rikki! Cause he mis me on page one! :D

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ZakRhyno - if it showed a Nexus step in the registration process, but there were no packages to purchase, I would expect this would be treated as a bug and resolved when reported. (I don't currently have Nexus installed to test). I wouldn't worry about such minor details at this stage in the development process. ;)

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