Sign Up in a Mobile Context – Part III
Current Real World Practices Study
We are at the edge of a new Information Age where mobile seems to be king, user information weights its weight in gold and a great number of mobile applications are published and developed every day. Each of these apps have their way of dealing with their own signup processes. So, how do they balance fast access with the account creation requirements for their systems? Generally we can distinguish three techniques:
- Unique Account
- Creating an unique account is the traditional approach to any signup process. The system demands the creation of an unique username (or an email address) and a corresponding password for an account to be registered. Additional information is typically requested to complete the user’s data. Depending on the amount of data the system requires at this stage, the common form issues we identified earlier have a high probability of occurring.
- Social Login
- The advent of Social Networks allowed for the creation of a very interesting alternative to the unique account standard, by taking advantage of practically every user being the owner of a social platform account (and therefore, identity). Social login translates into a permission based access to a user’s first party identity data, making it possible to ease the identity creation (eliminating repetition and re using the established identity) for the application’s system.
- Hybrid Approach
- Translates into the possibility to offer both previous techniques. It essentially means users are given the freedom to signup however they want.
Social Login is quickly overthrowing Unique Account as the norm regarding registration flows. According to Janrain, last year, Facebook (45%) was the top choice of their customers overall, followed somewhat close by Google+ (37%). These two Social Login choices are in fact the most prominent of all the available choices which include, among others, Twitter (5%), LinkedIn (3%), and Yahoo (3%). In theory, it is fairly easy to understand why Social Login is so appreciated: it usually requires a single step, typically one tap on an action button. Also, this technique has proven to have increased registration rates and contribute to minimize the signup barrier (by removing the need for usernames and passwords).
The Hybrid Approach is also becoming a popular choice for app developers, designers and product owners, mainly because it offers the most flexibility. However, it also adds the extra load in complexity and effort to support a choice (a multiple signup feature) that is probably not used by many users.
Table 1 gives us a pretty interesting outline of how the signup techniques are being employed by top applications. Firstly, all the applications provide a Unique Account creation scheme (which makes sense as it is the traditional approach taken by many software pieces). Secondly, we can confirm that Facebook is the top choice when Social Login is available, followed by Google+. Finally, we can also perceive that the Hybrid Approach is employed in almost half of these apps and two of them even go as far as offering the possibility to either create an unique account or register through Facebook or register through Google+ (a multiple signup feature). Next, let’s take a look at the necessary user input types and effort for each of these applications:
Figure 1 illustrates the minimum amount of effort needed to signup on the studied applications, for each of the available techniques. To quantify this effort metric we considered the minimum amount of interactions needed to create an account. Each interaction can be one of the following user actions: a tap on the screen to select an option, an input field where the user is asked to type his / her data and a swipe movement when the user is asked to scroll through a list. The results couldn’t be more overwhelmingly clear. Social Login is the fastest way to register a user account on these apps. Only WhatsApp comes close with its Unique Account technique (which is, in fact, different from most apps).
To be continued in Part IV.
Hardworking and passionate individual keen on learning and clearing any challenges coming his way.
Working in such a fast paced industry as Application Development, Paulo always aims to try and learn new technologies and new ways to perform his work, either through optimization or efficient process management. He is always open to embrace projects as long as they represent a brand new challenge and learning experience for him.