This story about designing registration flow contradicts two famous dogmas: 'If it works, don't touch it' and 'Less is more'.
We didn't touch a single thing and observed our conversion rate decrease by 30%; counter-intuitively, we resolved that issue by adding an extra step to the registration process.
On December 13, 2017, Alexey Navalny, opposition leader in the 2018 Russian presidential elections, announced the start of his campaign.
I led the campaign website, product, and branding teams through a 2-year electoral campaign. And, oh boy, do I have a lot to share. But let me focus on one little story here — the registration flow (aka onboarding).
We tried to simplify the form as much as possible, despite the hefty amount of information we needed to get.
Click to zoom in
Trust me, we experimented with different layouts before we settled on the final look. We didn't want to split the form into multiple steps or for it to look overwhelming when presented on one screen.
As you can see, even the simplified version of our form was tricky and had a lot of fields. Our next challenge was to make it very discoverable and at the same time not scare people away with a gigantic one.
Registration form desktop layout
At the early stages of the campaign, registering supporters was the main aim of the website (and arguably of the campaign itself). With that in mind, we built the entire website — every single page had a very visible call to register right in the header.
To increase our chances of getting more contacts, we decided to split our giant form into two steps. At the first step, we would only ask for an email, and at the second step, the rest of the form would be shown. This way, even if it was not a good time for someone to fill in our entire form, we could still get in touch later.
✨DEVIOUS PLAN✨ (It worked.)
To make the form more accessible we used contrasting colors, thoughtful error messages, and optimized our UI for mobile, screen-readers, and keyboard navigation.
Because everything was done in a very secretive way, A/B tests were off the table. Before the official launch, only a very small group of people involved were aware of the project. However, we did a quick usability test on a small group of employees not engaged in the design and implementation process.
We fixed the lousy email, but we couldn’t get to our initial metrics.
At the same time, our data showed that the majority of people confirming their emails did so within an hour of filling the form. The longer they waited, the less likely they were to finish the flow and confirm their email.