So I'm over on the Comscore web site this morning, following this link to a whitepaper on Social Media Marketing. When I decided to download it, I clicked the link and up pops the registration form. As marketers, we all understand this moment, it's the moment when you have to ask yourself, "do I really believe this content is going to be worth me giving up contact information and getting spammed by these guys?"
Often, the answer is no, but a success story about social media marketing from Comscore seemed worthwhile enough, so I plugged my info in. Up pops a new page with the download link -- yeah, no email confirmation loop -- along with listings for several other whitepapers that I might also be interested in. Cool, it looks like more interesting, related content. So I clicked on one of those links. And it took me to a page with a video. Sigh, I was really looking for a whitepaper. I closed the tab.
Not ready to give up, I reread the download recommendation page. It said whitepaper, so I decided to take a second look. On my second pass through, I found a link, "whitepaper", that seemed to be what I was looking for. Clicked it. Up pops the same download registration form that I just filled out a couple of clicks ago. Sigh. No whitepaper for you. Away I go.
When you're designing these types of systems, please remember that every time you ask me for my credentials, there is an exponential increase in the likelihood that I will abandon your site. Not only am I abandoning your site, but I'm also frustrated. How frustrated? Maybe not so much as to overcome the goodwill that you created by providing me with interesting content, but frustrated nonetheless.
If you watch people that don't live and breath computers, they tend to personify the computer experience. To imagine their experience, imagine your interface like a retail clerk. If you went to Macy's and wanted to get a price check, would you be willing to give your contact info to the clerk? And how many times would you put up with a clerk that keeps forgetting that they just spoke with you?