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I work in a newspaper publishing company and currently, all the contents in our site is free and no user registration is required.

Recently, the lifestyle column team proposed to implement a small and simple portal where viewers can make simple suggestions as to where to dine. The team then suggested to implement a simple user registration; asking for name, email and password. Or if they do not want to register for an account; they can login with their Facebook account. This is so that they could keep track of who suggested what.

However, I think this is counter-productive as we don't really provide any value in return. As the team said, they just want to keep it really simple. There will be no user control panel and they won't be doing anything with the user data such as sending promotional newsletter etc.

As such is it really feasible to implement a user registration in situations like these?

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2 Answers 2

I believe requiring user accounts for basic interaction with a website (like in your case) creates a poor user experience. You're much more likely to entise the odd few users to give some input if you make the process as easy as possible.

To make the process as easy as possible and succeed in harvesting a bit of info from your visitors I would:

  1. Scrap the idea of users having to register
  2. Offer a simple form with all fields being optional, bar the 'suggestions/comments' box.
  3. Create a thank-you page or better still, AJAX "dat thang" and have a thank-you message appear after they submit their suggestion.
  4. (optional) Add some small print clarifying that any suggestions become your company's property, if you feel it necessary.

I uphold that if you want someone to take the time out of their day to make a suggestion to benefit you, you should provide the best user experience possible. It's the least you can do, or should do.

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It is another feature that will need to be maintained so if the value is very low ...

There is also the consideration that a lot of people will not want to register for 'yet another account'.

I've made the mistake of adding a user account system where one wasn't really needed and would avoid doing so again.

Perhaps consider a system similar to what Blogger uses for comments, where the user can choose one of several options (in your case Facebook account would be one of them) including name/url (which are not verified in any way) and anonymous.

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Hi @Kris, thanks for your input. If we allow users to suggest anonymously, then there is a question of who owns the 'suggestions'. Is it owned by us once it's posted up? Of course we would like to be "not liable" for any bad suggestions made anonymous guests. Thanks again. –  Jeroen Aug 25 '11 at 14:02

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