The login option is a valuable tool for marketers, which allows them to identify the users and to keep track of their activity.
But what happens when the login option is aggressively introduced in the beginning steps of a user’s activity on a website?
A great number of usability tests have shown that users are irritated by login pages.
However, a clear distinction should be made between login pages that ask for the user’s info before they have access to the content of one page and the login pages that are compulsory in order to place an order, to perform a certain action or to pay.
For having access Zalando Lounge’s special offers, a user must login first. This way, the users get a certain feeling of exclusivity, because not everyone can see the offers. Also, because the user is asked to give something before receiving, which can be intriguing.
In the beginning, Fashion Days has used the same business model of exclusivist club, where discounts could be access only through initial login.
Now, Fashion Days has adopted the classical model of e-retail: online shop with login after adding items in the cart and before processing an order.
The login pages have a disadvantage in terms of interaction with users, because they have to remember the login details, if they have an account, or, if not, to make time to create one.
The effort of creating a new account is encouraged through communicating some benefits, such as:
Complete panel for clients
Fast order processing
Initial login pages – homepage login – or those that restrict the access should be used only if the user has something to gain out of the effort to login or if the application is dependent on login – such as social media channels.
It is a nuisance to login on websites that you don’t usually visit. Also, logging in on different websites can be frustrating, because it requires to always remember the login details.
This is why many websites offer now the option of logging in with Facebook/Google/Yahoo/LinkedIn. This ways, the users don’t need a new user name and password for every website they visit.
A research conducted by WebHostingBuzz has showed that 86% users are annoyed when they need to create a new account and 77% say that the option to login through social platform is a good solution.
Those in favor of initial login say that it is a process that requires an effort only the first time, because the info can is saved after. However, this is a valid argument only if the benefits offered after the login are very attractive for the user. The attractiveness can be assessed only if they are informed about the benefits or, eventually, if they have the chance to test them.
Also, the login process can be frustrating because a website can be accessed from more devices: desktop, phone, tablet. This automatically means logging in more times.
Consequently, experts must understand that the login is a cost for the customer and it can be covered only by the benefits that are to come. In case a user doesn’t note perceive any benefit that is to come from logging in, he won’t perform the action.
The rate of logging in can be superficially increased through aggressive techniques, such as accessing certain functionalities only after logging in.
It is difficult to close the logging in page for Yelp. The login button is much more highlighted than its alternative.
However, in case certain functionalities are blocked unless a user loges in, he must receive a clear incentive to log in (a voucher, discount).
A best case practice is Harvard Business Review, which gives the possibility to read 4 articles for free and is signalizing the offer regarding logging in without negatively interfering with navigation.
A rule of thumb would be to keep in mind the concept of reciprocity when using login pages.
Always keep in mind that a user has to perceive a clean benefit received out of logging in. Otherwise, he won’t bother with it.