Archive for January, 2007

Sign-up forms and activation email

The WordPress sign-up process has some excellent features that are worth noting and incorporating into your own forms.

1. It highlights the email address to which the email activation code has been sent with a bright yellow background. This is a great way to draw people to the email address as the person may have input a mis-spelt email address. They can check it and correct it if it is wrong.

Wordpress - highlight the email address
2. It lets you update your personal profile while you are waiting for the activation code. There are numerous benefits here:

  • The user is kept occupied so does not waste time.
  • The user is less likely to forget and go and do something else.
  • WordPress gets more information on the user which gives them more data to work with (e.g. personalise any emails they send you with your first name).
  • It helps keep the signup form (on the previous page) really short and then gets the extra data they want (e.g. first name) afterwards. This will lead in a higher conversion rate for the previous form.

Wordpress - update your profile while you wait
3. The page uses very large form fields. They look a bit ugly but they it is very obvious what to do as a user. This is more likely to get people to fill in the form than having standard small fields.

Wordpress - large form fields
4. If the user has still not received the activation email, they are given instructions on what to do. By now, the user should have been kept busy for about 1 minute so this has given the email more time to arrive in their inbox. This should reduce the number of support questions sent to WordPress saying "I havn't received my activation email yet". It also helps people proactivley find out likely reasons for not having received the email.

Wordpress - instructions if still waiting
More examples of fantastic usability from the masters at WordPress!

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Shut your mouth!

Watch the entertaining new movie from Free Range Studios about how we need to reclaim food and make it healthy again.

Another great movie from these world saviours!

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Americans and passports

A frequently quoted statistic is the number of Americans who hold passports. I have always questioned the accuracy of this percentage which people quote as it normally sounds unbelievably low – anywhere from 5% to 20%. Travelling overseas is a normal part of life for most people in the west, particularly in Europe where countries are small in land area and have neighbours close by. In contrast, America spans a huge area and only has physical borders with Canada and Mexico. Furthermore, Americans do not require a passport to visit Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Some Americans are too poor to travel overseas and others just don't feel the need – if everything you need is in your own country, why go overseas? So, what is the true percentage…

I recently read that the correct percentage of Americans holding passports is 27% (Kayak). I would prefer to read this statistic from the American home office, but for now, Kayak is as reputable as I can find.

This number will probably rise because on January 23rd 2007, Americans will need a passport to re-enter their country when returning from Canada, Mexico and the Carribean. Perhaps these new American passport holders will also be tempted to broaden their horizons and travel further afield. This would help raise the general level of understanding of different cultures among Americans.

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$6 billion hard drive anyone?

In 1985, 1 megabyte cost about $1,000. If the price had not changed, one of today's 60GB hard drives would cost a cool $6 billion…

Hard drives from 1985 and 2006

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