While we’ve been continuing to act on individual issues and ideas in our weekly updates, the team at UserVoice has also been focusing on a large undertaking: revamping our sign-in system.
We always strive to be flexible and meet you (and your customers) where you already are. Our existing sign-in attempted to accomplish that goal, but often fell flat. The biggest problem, of course, is that whichever link you click you get the same page, with two admittedly confusing options:
The New UserVoice Sign-In System Aims to Simplify Sign-In Without Ruining What’s Already Good
It’s a worthy, epic goal, and we’re looking forward to releasing the fruits of our labor. Before we do that, though, we wanted to walk you through what’s going to change. First, here is the nutshell version:
- We’re changing the way users sign in to UserVoice
- We’re doing this to make it as easy to leave (attributed) feedback (that kind that has an email and allows you to respond) as it is to leave a comment on a blog
- The goal is to help users stay in the loop easier than going through the original sign up process
- We are now requiring names & emails for all new suggestions & comments (this was always the case with comments) – but they won’t have to go through the process of setting up a full profile
- Sites using Single Sign-On will not be affected, but will have additional opt-in settings
Shall we touch on it in more detail?
Sign-In: Simply More Simple
There’s only one option at the upper right of UserVoice pages in the new system: sign-in. Regardless of whether you’ve been to UserVoice before or not, you’re signing in. As opposed to the option on the left, the new option on the right doesn’t halt users in their tracks and force them to make a decision (which, in the end, actually both led to the same page).
The new sign-in now occurs in a popover on the page you’re currently on instead of taking you to a separate page. This includes in-line sign-in, when a user attempts to interact with an idea. We’re hoping this helps keep users in the flow, so you don’t lose anyone in the no-man’s land that was the previous sign-in page.
The new sign-in form is smart. Depending on whether you already have a UserVoice profile, you’ll get a different experience. If you enter an email not already attached to a UserVoice profile, we’ll prompt you to enter a name and email (more on this shortly).
If we do have an user profile attached to your email, we will prompt you for a password:
If you previously logged in using a third-party service (like Facebook or Google) we’ll show sign-in icons for that service.
However, there’s also a third experience…
Unconfirmed Profiles: Lowering the Barrier, Increasing Engagement
One of the tough decisions when setting up a UserVoice forum is whether to allow Anonymous users or not. We see significantly less engagement if a user is required to go through a sign up process (which is why we highly recommend Single-Sign On, available in our Bronze and above plans). However, Anonymous profiles have no email attached to them, meaning that continued engagement is unlikely.
Enter the new Unconfirmed profile. Unconfirmed profiles are the cheeky middle child between Anonymous and Confirmed profiles. Unconfirmed users are required only to provide a name and email, but can immediately interact with the forum without confirming the profile via an email link. No password is required.
Although users can immediately interact on a forum with an Unconfirmed profile, they will still get an email asking them to confirm their profile. If they don’t confirm it, that’s fine – they can continue interacting on the forum all they like. If they do confirm it (making it, you guessed it, a Confirmed profile), they’ll be able to get notifications when ideas they’ve voted on, commented on, or created are updated. Our hope is that Unconfirmed profiles are still a low enough barrier of entry that people don’t feel like they’re signing up for a profile while resulting in more users remaining engaged with your forum via email updates.
What About Anonymous Profiles, Single Sign-On Profiles and Private Forums?
Don’t let this new Unconfirmed profile scare you. If you so choose, we still do and will continue to support completely Anonymous profiles, keeping the barrier to entry lower than low. Similarly, Single-Sign on will remain an option. Private forums will continue to only allow Single Sign-On and Confirmed profiles, so you can ensure the right people are viewing your forum.
What Will Happen to My Forum When the New Sign-In System is Activated?
Your existing settings will be respected – accounts allowing Single-Sign on and Anonymous voting will remain that way, private forums will remain private. All that will change is that your users won’t be asked to go through a complex process when signing up for a regular UserVoice profile. That’s a pretty nice change, in our book.
Are You Sure This is Going to Be Better?
Unfortunately, unlike the psychic octopus, we’re not always right. Which is why we already have metrics in place that we’ll be carefully tracking as we launch this new sign-in system. If we see a negative impact, we’ll work quickly to figure out why and address it. And, of course, we’ll be listening to your feedback on our very own UserVoice Feedback Forum. We’re excited about this new system, but we’re sure it’ll need to go through some iterations, and we can’t wait to get your thoughts on it.
We’re looking to launch this feature in the next few days (barring any major bugs), so please let us know if you have any questions or concerns so we can make the transition as smooth as possible for you.