2 Ways to Design Your Next Signup Flow [Examples & Best Practices]

The signup flow is one of the most critical aspects of the user experience journey. It is the initial encounter that a user has with your product. The way you design it can have a major impact on how users perceive your product.

In this article, I will be going over two popular SaaS signup flows: friction-based signup flow vs. frictionless signup flow.

In short, a friction-based flow is one that will make it harder for the user to complete the signup process in exchange for more value-added later on. For example, booking a demo that goes to your sales pipeline first is also counted as friction-based. On the other hand, a frictionless flow will make it much easier to complete the signup process hoping that the UI is good enough to demonstrate the value of the app on its own.

Which one should you choose? Keep reading to know more. Plus, at the end, we share more resources for you to learn from.

Friction-based Signup Flow

The folks at ConversionXL define friction as “the measure of how much effort the user has to exert to sign up.

Although it is difficult to quantify, our friends at Totango have come up with a couple of measures:

  • The number of steps to complete the flow.
  • The number of fields to fill.
  • The number of additional activities a user must do to get to signup such as email activation, JavaScript installation, CAPTCHA,..etc.

When Should Friction-based Signup Be Used?

Friction-based signup is more about collecting user information and pushing critical actions first.

Therefore, it must be used when your product is too complex to demonstrate value on its own. This is generally the case for products that are not purely self-service and/or that require a bunch of integrations first to setup.

Take for example the case study of FullStory.

FullStory is a session replay software that helps you monitor how users are interacting with your app.

The FullStory UI is almost useless if users have not installed the FullStory JavaScript. Without the script, users won’t see any value in FullStory as the core selling point lies in the session playback.

For this reason, FullStory elects to go with a more friction-based signup flow.

The idea is simple, make it harder to signup at first. Then, once the user completes all the necessary steps, they will go to the UI ready and find value almost instantly.

FullStory is also a product that can be used by various personas: product, UX and engineering teams to name a few.

For this reason, they took the opportunity to learn more about the user persona as well in the signup flow.

This will help them later to personalize the experience based on the data collected.

Why does the friction-based signup flow make sense for the FullStory case?

  • The product is complex to setup.
  • It’s not easy to get to the ‘Aha!’ moment before installing the JavaScript.
  • The product is used by many personas for different use cases.

But most importantly: You’re more likely to become a customer and activate the account if you go through all the steps.

What Are the Advantages Of the Friction-based Signup Flow?

  1. Higher activation % after successful signup; users are more likely to activate if they go through the whole process.
  2. Easier to instigate the initial ‘Aha!’ moment after users reach the product’s UI.
  3. Differentiates serious users from spam signups.
  4. Eliminates spammers and adds a level of security; less abuse of the trial period.

What Are the Disadvantages Of the Fiction-based Signup Flow?

  1. A lower number of successful signups.
  2. A higher number of dropouts during the signup process flow.
  3. Users don’t have a chance to experience the product’s UI.

Frictionless Signup Flow

A frictionless signup flow is one that makes it easy for users to get as effortlessly as possible to the UI.

This usually means:

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Userpilot is a Product Growth Platform designed to help product teams improve product metrics through in-app experiences without code. Check out userpilot.com