1 September 2010 · About 2 minutes read

Is your sign up process pushing customers away?

The sign up process is one of the most important functions of your app. It’s what converts potential customers into active and, hopefully, paying subscribers. Getting it right is essential, and you need to make sure it’s not pushing customers away.

Amberleaf Sign Up Form Screenshot

Amberleaf’s new price plan and sign up page

Spotting a problem

While analysing trends for Amberleaf, I noticed that a number of people had signed up and verified their account, but never completed their first login. I’d already minimised capture fields to lower barriers, but something else was stopping people trying out their new account.

Despite running through the sign up process countless times during testing, I’d missed one very big problem, and it was scaring people away.

Would you sign up to your site?

When I realised my mistake, I knew I wouldn’t have signed up to my own app! Customers were being pushed away from even trying Amberleaf because of a poor decision I’d made early in development. So what was the problem?

Just after signing in to start their 30 day trial, new users were asked to input their payment card details.

This was a huge barrier that had stopped a lot of people from even trying Amberleaf. The sign up process was working as it should technically (payments were never taken until the 30 days free trial had passed), but that wasn’t the impression given to new customers.

At exactly the moment a new customer should be experiencing what Amberleaf offers, I was instead insisting they hand over payment details.

Improving the sign up process

When I realised what was going on, I immediately revised the sign up code. I implemented a separate 30 day free trial plan on Spreedly, and tied Amberleaf into it. This had the added benefit of removing a step from the process. Not capturing payment details right away meant new users could be subscribed to the free 30 day plan automatically when they first logged in. This resulted in a smoother sign up process, and helps to build users’ trust in the software.

The new sign up process went live a few days ago. I took the opportunity to tidy up the sign up screens, bringing the registration and payment plan page together. I’ll see how these changes affect conversion rates over the next few weeks. Either way, I’ve certainly learned a valuable lesson in designing the sign up process.

Chris Blunt
Chris Blunt @cblunt
Chris is the founder of Plymouth Software. As well as code and business, he enjoys being a Dad, swimming, and the fine art of drinking tea.