I’ve been downloading and installing various pieces of software lately, particularly in connection with my work for INFO 498. One of those pieces of software, oXygen XML Editor, requires a 30-day trial key, and getting that key requires a form to be completed. I want to demonstrate what’s horribly wrong with the image below:
The problem? The “watch this video demonstration” link. Why is this a problem?
- If your registration process is so difficult as to require a video, your registration process needs to be rethought badly.
- Why the video is required is not obvious; the registration process on the web page itself is self-explanatory, since it’s just completing the form and pressing “Submit”.
But wait – what does the video cover? If you watch it, it walks you through two different forms of registration – via the program itself and via the program’s web site. Both registration forms to request the e-mail are very, very easy. The hard part (well – more like “the confusing part”) of the registration actually comes after you complete the e-mail; there are nine lines of e-mailed text to copy and paste into a licensing dialog. Why nine lines? Why not one?
- They failed to consider their audience. This is an XML editor geared towards developers. If developers don’t know how to complete a registration form and copy/paste into a text box, we’re all in serious, serious trouble.
- They failed to simplify their information entry process. Why the hell do we need nine lines of licensing information to paste into the program?
- The video restates the same facts twice. It presents registering via the program and then entering the registration information into the dialog box provided with the application, then presents it via the web site and doing exactly the same process with the application. There’s no difference between the two methods other than the point of initiation of the request for the trial license.
What did they do right?
- At least with the online form, they marked required fields.
- They left the default value of the “Please send me news about upgrades, discounts and special promotions” checkbox unchecked.
- They only asked for what they needed. They didn’t request your mailing address, birthdate, or any of the other extraneous information that can make people suspicious of a company’s true intent with the information you provide when registering.