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Stop Asking Me to “Sign Up” (2014) (gkogan.co)
436 points by jeremylevy 7 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 272 comments

More importantly, stop showing me "Sign Up" buttons if I'm already logged in! And when I'm logged out, don't hide the "Sign In" button from me!

I can never remember if it's https://www.google.com/drive/ or https://drive.google.com/. For the longest time, the first link was just a splash advertisement for Drive with a big "Sign Up" button, and no clear way to actually get to my drive folder. GitHub has a similar issue, as do countless other websites that I use on a daily basis.

And when I'm logged out, don't hide the "Sign In" button from me!

Digital Ocean is guilty of this. If you're on a phone, or a tablet, or any browser with a window narrower than about 700px, the page is so obsessed with selling Digital Ocean that in order for an existing customer to use an account you've already paid for, you have to click the hamburger menu, and then scroll... scroll... scroll... all the way down to the bottom of 75 options to find a sign-in button.

For a company that brands itself as being tech-forward and people-friendly, Digital Ocean should know better.

I love Digital Ocean, but this annoys me so much. If anyone from DO sees this, please fix this crap!

We need an extension in the meantime.

This is bad at even at 1000px. That’s 1/3rd of an xdr pro display and my most common window width now.

uBlock Origin, right-click, "Block element".

I thought it was just an ad blocker, but now I realize it's a "whatever DOM element I dislike" blocker.

This works unless the css classes or HTML structure change frequently.

I think e.g. Facebook does that and I’ve been unable to block annoying elements there.

Does anyone know how to make it work in that scenario?

Even worse with random CSS class names and random ids on many websites. Some of the JS dev crowd think it to be a good idea to have class names random generated. I consider it to be a kind of dark pattern by now.

Some CSS-in-JS libraries will create a hash of the underlying CSS and use that as the class name. So not quite random, and should remain consistent if the underlying CSS hasn't changed.

Yeah it's terrible. The JS framework we use hijacks the ID property with some internal ID which is quite annoying in some cases.

With DO, I've noticed that you can enter login credentials into the sign up screen and it works to authenticate you if you have an existing account.

How hard would it be for DO to change the sign up button to 'Sign up/Login'? Seems like an utterly trivial change to make for something that's completely possible, but totally hidden, while the 'visible' solution is extremely aggravating.

That's a textbook example of poor UI.

I've seen a lot of rhetoric, even on HN, that frontend/webdev is "not that hard", that frontend/webdev engineers are doing busy work to justify their jobs, etc. And then people with this mentality go to their jobs, they subconsciously or overtly promote these views in their workplaces, people who are good at this stuff try to avoid toxic workplaces that undervalue them rhetorically or with actual compensation, and then you wind up with "easily" fixable things like this and the toxic people blame the frontend engineers who are willing to stay in environments like this.

A phone with less than 700px width in 2020? The sites I work with have small screens at around 1000-1200 px width. 700 is more like a wap feature phone..

A phone with less than 700px width in 2020?

On a mobile device, web display pixels (logical pixels) are not the same as physical pixels.

An iPhone SE's logical width is 320px.

An iPhone 8 is 375px.

An iPhone 8 Plus is 414 px.

An iPad is 768px.

700 is more like a wap feature phone

WAP phones were closer to 180px. I know because I built local WAP news and weather sites for them. Squeezing color radar maps into 180px was... interesting.

> An iPhone SE's logical width is 320px.

I always forget about this one. Thanks for ruining my afternoon.

I love my iPhone SE since I can easily use it one-handed without worrying about dropping a $1,000 electronic device

It's a great phone. I'm just building a thing that needs to support it, and I was treating 380px as the lower end of things.

I did too, but with battery health at 91% I'd get maybe an hour of heavy use (and 12hr of light use) before having to charge it

Even on desktop I always have two windows open side-by-side. Normally it's VS Code and Chrome, so I can reference documentation while coding, or take Markdown notes while reading. Most websites seem not to be designed for this use case, which is a shame since the solution is usually setting min-width to a smaller value.

Multi-display or a huge single display and a cooperate window manager is a real game changer for productivity... unless of course "desktop" actually means a laptop used away from a desk.

iPhone SE came out in 2016 and has a resolution of 640x1136. I still use it.

Css width is probably 320px on that too. Css pixels are not screen pixels.

Can anyone explain this? Why are these pixels not the same as physical pixels, like I asume to be on a computer screen?

Because after a short lived attempt to educate uninterested web developers about px vs em vs.... browsers decided the easiest way forward was to give up and lie.

No, I meant: Explain why pixels on smart phones are not physical pixels, as I would expect them to be. Why does a phone need to act differently, kind of dishonest about its pixels?

> Explain why pixels on smart phones are not physical pixels, as I would expect them to be. Why does a phone need to act differently, kind of dishonest about its pixels?

The phone is not acting differently. The phone is acting according to the specification, which is that a pixel is 1/96th of an inch. This happens on all devices, not just phones.

From the spec:

> The absolute length units are fixed in relation to each other and anchored to some physical measurement. They are mainly useful when the output environment is known. The absolute units consist of the physical units (in, cm, mm, pt, pc, Q) and the visual angle unit (px):

> 1in = 2.54cm = 96px



Because it ensures a page is useable on a mobile phone, even if the author didn’t take mobile into account: the screen can accommodate for about as much information as a regular 320px computer screen. If you try to use every pixel as you would on a regular screen it would be illegible for most users.

The newer generation of the SE came out this year (2020) and works great too

This one drives me up a wall. I always find myself thinking "hey jerk I'm already a paying customer where the f is MY button?"

This annoys me to no end with product like Lastpass. Why the hell is the "Sign Up" more prominent than the "Sign In/Login" button. I'm going to be signing in every single day, I'm only signing up once.

No one ever opted to not sign up for a service because link wasn't visible enough. If I'm sufficiently interested to want to pay, then I can find the sign up link.

> No one ever opted to not sign up for a service because link wasn't visible enough.

I sure hope that’s sarcasm... lack of a clear obvious signup path is literally the number one funnel exit.

> Why the hell is the "Sign Up" more prominent than the "Sign In/Login" button. I'm going to be signing in every single day, I'm only signing up once.

Agree! imo is just a blatant reminder that they care more about getting new customers than servicing their existing customers.

The worst offender of this is Streamlabs. When I go to the homepage (even if I've already logged in on the same browser), I see this: https://streamlabs.com/

In order to go to my actual dashboard, I have to click on "Login" > "Login with Twitch" and finally arrive at the dashboard which features prominent banners to upsell you on their premium offerings.

And if you accidentally click "Download" because that's the biggest button on the screen then you'll automatically download the application so make sure you're ready to go to your downloads list and cancel that.

I just gave up and started using a combination of OBS (open source) and StreamElements.

Let’s assume that LastPass has thought this through clearly. Would it be possible that they place more emphasis on Sign Up rather than Log In user due to some internal metric which they use to benchmark their service? I’m not saying the metric is right. I’m wondering why they chose to do so.

Existing customers already paid so they don't matter.

Reddit too, it's like they don't expect users to come back. Perhaps another example of managers chasing the wrong metrics

We’ve been dealing with this for decades at least.

Employee retention can often cost much less than hiring and training a replacement, but nobody worries about that until the problem is too big to shrug off.

I don’t know where they expect this infinite pool of new users is coming from at this point.

My theory is it's just alt accounts for trolls or "unsavory" content (eg: adult, politics, WSB)

About a month ago, reddit sent me an email to "verify my account" - an account I've had for years. I clicked the link to activate it only for another "verify your account" email to appear a few weeks later which I promptly deleted.

I think part of it is individuals with mainstream browser settings thinking that because Chrome and reddit remember them every time due to the lack of privacy oriented settings on their system that that happens to everyone. They might have to hit login once every few months and forget what it's like.

Others get so caught up in their own usage habit that they forget others don't want to be prompted to login when they hit reply to a comment (which causes a page reload and they lose their place in the comments) but would rather login up front before commenting.

> I can never remember if it's https://www.google.com/drive/ or https://drive.google.com/.

I can never remember if my stuff is in Google Drive or Google Docs.

Google Drive. All G Suite apps store files there. A particular G Suite app's file list will only show files from your Google Drive that are editable/viewable by that particular app.

It is even more confusing on mobile :(

When I have a .docx file on Google Drive - will I need the Google Drive App , the Google Docs app or should I just get the Microsoft Word mobile app?

Google drive app if you just want to manage your data in the drive you have. Google docs if you wish to edit the file. Also google docs if you just want to work with doc files as google docs will list all previously edited files in the app.

Will we ask the question do I need Word if I have a file explorer?

I noticed this last week with UPS (while being summarily screwed with unapproved brokerage fees... something there’s already been a class action suit about if you’re listening UPS).

To log in you have to go to the register/login page but that only brings you to a register page and the sign in page is actually a small link on that page to get to the point where you can enter your existing credentials to pay the fees they weren’t supposed to charge without explicit approval before they turn your package around to the originating country...

Americans, please use your USPS. They always have delivered on time, often early, and without so much clumsiness. Especially here in Canada—they work seamlessly with Canada Post.

UPS and FedEx have been mostly headaches.

Great point! USPS not only delivers xyz package quicker from the same to/from zip, but they are the only of the three that will actually deliver packages early than originally promised.

UPS and FedEx only, and I mean only, deliver on-time OR later than promised. NEVER earlier than promised. Additionally while UPS and FedEx say that there is a daily cut off time, this is almost always meaningless in that the first day never counts towards time-in-transit (which ,in terms of days, is already way longer than necessary from the start).

They both act as if they were to occasionally deliver a ground package a day earlier it would keep people from using their outrageously priced 2-day and next day services. Ie 13$ ground vs $137 next day.

Additionally UPS and FedEx (in my case mainly FedEx) are the only two where a package (generally on Saturdays) will get marked as “recipient not home” when I’ll check my cameras to see they never even attempted delivery.

both of their “guaranteed” time in transit maps are not worth the pixels upon which they are rendered.

Segment.com’s homepage does this: the only way to “sign in”, is to click on “sign up”!

This is one of the most confusing trends for me. Until I realized that Web design is mostly led by marketing and they care more about top of the funnel. Customer success should have a seat at the table.

Definitely one of the worst dark patterns to a site you frequent.

I see "Log in"

https://smile.amazon.com too. Now you have to click on "Let's Get Started"

I hate going to a website of which I have already signed up and the main page is more focused on attracting new signups than making it clear how to sign in for those already signed up. SIGN UP...... (sign in in tiny letters)

Discord and Element's homepages are info/signup pages even if you're logged in. So is AppVeyor's homepage.

Google domains and drive , are among the worst offenders of this. Domains is the worse of the two, unfortunately.

Advertising splashes should never be allowed on base page URIs.

Just forward to another page, and don't bother your current users.

Blame cacheability. Landing pages should load at breakneck speed, so everyone dumps static content to a CDN and never makes a trip to a DB.

How I’m reading that is modern web devs are awful at doing their job.

Store a cookie. Invented like 50 years ago.

26 years ago

This article is from 2014, right now my annoyance is more all these apps with low self esteem.

Always this stupid question "do you like this app" and then redirecting me to the play store to vote if I say yes or the support site when I say no. And to make matters worse they keep doing it every few days. Once is passable, over and over is NOT.

I've started to give 1-star reviews to these apps. So sick of this behaviour. Especially many of Microsoft's corporate apps do this (like outlook or teams) and most people download these because they need them, not because of some rating.

edit: I mean I do the 1-star thing with the apps which keep asking. If they ask once I just don't do the review (If I really love the app I would have left a 5-star review anyway). But once it comes up again I do this.

It's a really important thing for the apps because by default only unhappy people go to Play Store and give 1 star. Then it looks like your app is crap and the competitors are way better.

In prev job, we had few ratings of our app, and avg. of 3.5. After adding the question, we got thousands of 5 stars and went to avg. 4.7 in a few months.

Of course the app should give you "I don't care" option, and store your answer to not repeat the question.

I wonder if apps targeting userbases that are more averse to being nagged like this get overall lower reviews.

App stores should really abandon reviews, they're clearly broken, due to this effect. Instead, maybe app stores should measure user engagement, and rank apps that way.

I agree that reviews are a poor measure of value/quality. Fake reviews can be purchased now.

But ranking apps by engagement is measuring the wrong thing: Some apps are wonderful, but are used very infrequently -> Low 'engagement'. A YC example would be AirBNB.

Oh no, not another engagement metric! Just think of how (a)social media works ... I guess we would have apps crying for our attention even more than usual.

How do you measure user engagement?

For starters, tracking how often an app gets used, abandoned, deleted

Add some metrics to the app itself, I'd wager. Then you'll get people complaining about how the app (or app store) is spying on your every action, and phoning home.

Which is an absolutely reasonable complaint. Pervasive monitoring of users is not an acceptable practice.

Spy on usage

I always answer yes and give a one star rating. An app that tries to game the system (and likely breaks the stores rules) deserve it.

You see two competing apps. One is rated 3.5 and has 100 reviews, another is rated 4.4 and has 10000 reviews. Which one do you install?

One of them. Or neither. I'm not using the app store for product discovery. Ratings are thoroughly gamed and comments are bullshit. If I install an app, it's because of an outside recommendation, and so I search directly for it by name.

(It's a principle I live by in general: don't use e-commerce platforms for product discovery; neither the platform nor the sellers have any incentive to give you best value for your time/money, and manipulation is rampart.)

But I get your point. If I were to choose, I'd probably lean towards the higher-rated and higher-review-count app, but I would make sure to read a few 1-star and 5-star reviews on both to determine how trustworthy the app is.

In both cases I'm going to look at the reviews.

In the case of a lot of 5-star reviews with little to no content, I'm going to assume they've either gamed it in the way being described upthread or that the reviews are fake, which renders the rating and number of reviews irrelevant to me.

I'll definitely look at some 4-star reviews to see what people who liked the app in general didn't like. I'll also read some 1-star reviews to see if there are any red flags/deal breakers like... the pestering behavior being described upthread.

This type of behavior is unlikely to succeed with me if I find out it occurs. Not everyone does it and "it makes me more money" might be a reason someone would do it, but it doesn't convince me I should tolerate it. I'm extremely intolerant of any behavior that shows disrespect for users and doesn't value their time.

This method could succeed with me if it was a one-time purchase and I was unaware of the behavior. It won't succeed with me if the app is free and offers IAP (something I tend to avoid anyway, though) or if it is a subscription-based app.

Neither. When I go to the official app store, I already know what I am getting and why I am getting it. The few times I have glanced at reviews, they have been useless.

When I'm browsing for Android apps, I tend to stick to F-Droid, where I judge from the description and maybe the website. They don't offer ratings or reviews. Much of the open source ecosystem seems to be like this. You don't get ratings in most package managers and extension managers. At best you will get download counts.

I think the differentiation between commercial software (even the gratis stuff) and open source is telling. Ratings and reviews are about marketing, not the actual quality of the product.

Both. Say I’m looking for a budget app. They can be very different and work very differently. Also given that it is still possible to buy reviews, how much do you really trust them. I would even look at the app that had 1000 one star reviews out of curiosity. I mean Apple’s own apps often have a 2 star average and they are the ones I use all the time.

I think I’m going to adopt the strategy of leaving a 1 star review saying “the app prompted me to review it before I got to use it”.

The second one, of course, but that should come from genuine reviews, not gaming the system because when you do that then it devalues the system for everyone.

Usually I would just try the free version of both. And then decide.

Same rules applies to all apps. It's curious to have 1 star when competitors have 4 or 5 stars.

App developers do this because, gasp, it works. Filtering reviews this way absolutely, quantitatively, repeatedly boosts app ratings, and apps with higher ratings get more downloads. Don’t expect developers to stop doing this just because it annoys you.

We should not be justifying shitty negative externalities because "they help the developer". We should be destroying existing systems and reforming them so that everyone is happy

What mechanism would you propose?

Ratings systems have been gamed to meaninglessness. First stop would probably be removing those.

I realize that creates more discovery problems, but I think that can be ameliorated somewhat by making more use of professional reviewers and app-store integrations with publications like Wirecutter or Consumer Reports.

People rarely go out of their way to put in positive review (or at least neutral reviews, "works as expected"). The current cheats implemented by apps probably affect the ratio of positive reviews per user a lot, making it indicative only of how effective the cheat is, and not the quality of the app.

I wonder if you could get away with only negative reviews? Would a "negative review per total install" metric be worse than "positive reviews per review" (e.g. current ratings)?

True that rating systems have been hacked. Maybe it really boils down to only following reviews from people you trust, which could be selected professional reviewers.

Interestingly, I'm pretty sure apps that drive traffic to other apps are generally not permitted on the app store, per some huge HN thread recently featuring a letter to Tim Cook from the developer of such an app who got removed.

I feel like the internet-pro's work around to validating quality of anything, strangely, is to find a reddit thread where people seem to discuss it meaningfully and logically.

Subreddit trick is super useful. Also for avoiding disinformation, which is a problem in any topic that applies to the general population, because these are thoroughly SEO-saturated by content marketing scoundrels. So usually one of the first things I do is search "<topic of interest> site:reddit.com", look for dedicated subreddits, and browse the top posts and the subreddit wiki. More often than not, there's a lot of solid community knowledge collected there.

Circling back to the topic of apps and ratings, I pretty much never use the app store for product discovery. If I install an app, it's because I knew about it from elsewhere. May be a professional reviewer, may be a friend, or may be a random poster on HN. Basically, it must be a human who I can be confident isn't trying to deceive me.

I think apps could look to how music spreads for inspiration here. There is not a huge importance on "ratings" in music consumption, and some people spend a lot of time listening to playlists or DJ sets by curators. Plus you have apps like Shazam that can identify songs mid-air and mid-play. Translate this to apps?

Or, imagine an App Store, but without search, categories, or any kind of discoverability at all. Let the community handle the discoverability aspect.

I think a lot of music consumption is driven by marketing, though? Like radio stations playing the same song over and over again.

You're never going to get rid of pay-for-play. But you can decentralize the audience base enough so that the impact of p4p is minimized and local.

Plus, I look around me and wonder, "Who actually listens to the radio nowadays?" There are so many other ways to hear new music now.

You could argue that streamers, DJs, and other content creators are just as susceptible to p4p as a radio station, but again there are so many more of them, and regardless of who the curator is, no-one owns anything close to a majority of the total listener base.

>> Plus, I look around me and wonder, "Who actually listens to the radio nowadays?"

Guessing you don’t drive/commute? Tons of commuters here in Canada still listen to the radio every morning on the way to work.

It’s almost an ancient ritual that; for the most part, hasn’t changed up here in Canada, and for those who do use streaming services or whatever it’s usually a combination of both.

There is something comforting about listening to the morning DJ talk bullshit in the morning, traffic directions that are up to date and don’t require you to look at a screen in your car, and often a fine enough selection of music for those whose tastes aren’t too refined. Which is a surprising amount of people.

There are sometimes even ‘water cooler’ stories about anecdotes from Roz + Mocha (our most popular morning radio DJ hosts) - it’s a thing - the place the radio lost the most of ground is honestly at-home and/or portable use, which was never as huge as its use in automobiles anyway. :)

Radio play is also still a holy grail for musical artists like myself, and I’ve put a solid amount of effort into trying to get each single on the air. It’s slightly easier to do up here in Canada due to local laws regarding a % of Canadian content that must be on air. :)

Allow apps to disable/remove ratings completely, and prioritize apps with ratings disabled above those with ratings enabled.

In-platform ratings and the constant nagging would disappear overnight.

At least in the current system, if I saw an app with "ratings disabled" I would assume the ratings are terrible and the developer doesn't want me to see that.

If in a future system I could see that the app had disabled ratings from its initial release, I would assume the developer anticipated the ratings to be mediocre to poor.

I install apps that have no ratings, from a package manager without any centralized rating system whatsoever, all the time. The basic curation by the distro maintainers is enough for me.

At most I look at wiki or into the docs if the app may do what I want it to do for me, before giving the app a try.

I don't have any pre-judice against apps with no in-app store ratings. If I can find the documentation/source code/review online, and the app seems to do what I need, that's good enough for me.

I also install apps with no ratings in environments where that's the norm.

But on the Apple or Google app stores, it's not the norm, and an application that stands out as "this developer has opted to disable ratings" among lots of 4-star and 5-star apps looks different in context, compared with a package in Debian, RedHat or Homebrew.

If it becomes commonplace for well-regarded developers to opt out of ratings, that's different, then it might start to look favourable.

Personally, I get around this by only using apps off F-Droid. I'm sure not everyone would be happy with that solution, but it works well for me.

I'm not sure that making everyone happy is an achievable goal.

I enjoy rating and reviewing apps, and I don't mind when apps ask me to do it. So your proposed solution would make me unhappy vs. the status quo.

Unless enough people start giving one stars because of such filtering :^)

Right, and if we can convince more people to give 1 star reviews when apps do this, then maybe it will stop working and developers will stop doing it.

Also, we expect people to stop a lot of things that 'work' because people are annoyed. Email SPAM worked well enough for people to keep doing it, so we passed laws to restrict it.

Maybe a platform will ban or penalize this behavior if we complain about it loudly enough. It is or will become a Nash equilibrium that can only be resolved by Apple and Google.

Once all apps do this, the app developers are back to where they started, but users are worse off.

IIRC Apple requires apps to use Apple’s method to ask users to review. And they respect the “don’t bother me” answer.

I'll join in on punishing these techniques, in an effort to make it not work.

I think he did say - it's one thing to do it once. It gets really annoying when apps do it over and over again.

I expect app stores to ban apps (or at least ban reviews) that manipulate reviews.

I don't know how much teeth the Play Store rules have, but I wish it was against the ToS to display things like that. Or at least disallow having an option that expresses dissatisfaction while bypassing the Play Store review system, but sending any positive response along to it to boost the application's rating.

I think Apple actually has an API for this flow. So it's not against the ToS, it's actually something they encourage! (Here's the API: https://developer.apple.com/app-store/ratings-and-reviews/)

This goes to show one of the big problems with app stores. Apple wants to have a bunch of apps that all have 5 star reviews, so you think everyone using an iPhone is happy and that all the apps are Just Great. You joined a club when buying an iPhone and everyone here is just so happy and would never ever think of leaving! Since they control the OS and manually approve every app, they can make sure that the apps go out of their way to encourage people to think the club is perfect. The fact that 99% of reviews are completely misleading is a problem for another day. (They probably filter out reviews like "1 star: asks me 3 times a day if I like the app." Amazon sure does. I have posted a number of thoughtful 1 star reviews on Amazon for completely flawed products, including objective data showing the flaws... and they just got removed instantly. Conflict of interest up the wazoo.)

Somehow I don't think this model would work too well if there were a competing app store with honest reviews.

(Not that I think you can ever have honest reviews. Everything about reviews, not only in the mobile app category, is basically completely flawed.)

> This goes to show one of the big problems with app stores. Apple wants to have a bunch of apps that all have 5 star reviews, so you think everyone using an iPhone is happy and that all the apps are Just Great.

OR Apple wants to improve user experience by requiring developers to use something that respects the “don’t bother me” answer. Apple is not the best, but not everything is a conspiracy

Well apple both limits the number of times that prompt can be shown to a user and makes sure that all ratings are counted, not just favorable ones. Seems like the best option short of banning pop up alerts altogether.

What you're showing is exactly a case that I think is okay as long as it's not spammed to the user. Any rating that's chosen through this will go directly to the App Store listing instead of being filtered out by redirecting the user to some feedback form.

Google itself is a major offender.

Back in '14 I did a ASO course "App Store Optimisation" that pushed this technique. It was one of the things I didn't do because it seemed too cringy for me.

It's interesting because soliciting ad clicks will get your account banned (and this is enforced very heavy handedly), but soliciting biased reviews is encouraged.

Most of the times you get so see the rating/review dialogs when the app was updated.

The App Store only shows reviews for the latest release of the app by default, not for all versions combined like the Play Store does.

So if you update your iOS app, there are no reviews displayed in the App Store for your app. To get some reviews for the new version, people show you the rating/review dialog.

At least that's how it was done at LOVOO (disclosure: I worked there). With every new version you'd see the review/rating dialog again.

Usually if you say you don’t like the app it won’t direct you to the App Store but will just ask for feedback within the app. It’s much less disruptive than saying “yes” and getting switched to the App Store.

You've clearly never been on the other side of things... ratings help app developers get reviews, which is important for their business. It's a hard place to be, and they're doing something that works, even if it is kind of annoying.

For Microsoft apps, sure, rate whatever you want, but if you're giving 1-star reviews to apps made by smaller developers just because they're asking for a review of their app, you're just a jerk.

Well it's more than "kind of" annoying. Just to clarify: I'm only doing the 1-star review on apps that ask more than once.

But tbh I haven't seen it in apps made by smaller developers. Only in ones by big companies. The ones made by smaller devs usually care much more about their user experience, if they ask it at all they ask it once only and not over and over again like Microsoft does. Reddit's app is another big one there but obviously they don't give anything about their users, they are super annoying anyway (like constantly trying to force you to use the app if you view reddit in a webbrowser on a phone).

But the ones I use from smaller devs are usually FOSS so they don't care about their ratings at all, as they don't make money anyway. And I'm much more likely to support these with good ratings anyway. I don't care about Microsoft's business :)

Still, I think it is bad practice. If I love an app I give it a good rating anyway. If you do it, please don't make it a yes/no. But also include a "stop bothering me" button :)

I recently gave a 1-star review to Adobe Acrobat Reader, when it interrupted me to ask for an App Store rating.

If I were using an app made my some small, scrappy developer, then there is no way I'd do this. It would feel rude, and I'd understand that they might need to scramble to survive. But Adobe? Come on.

It's more because of the dark pattern of blocking possible bad reviews by redirecting them to support.

Well usually bad reviews do include a lot of details. I also often see support from the company actually responding to users, and these issues getting resolved and the ratings modified. This is one way where that process works well.

I would agree if they only ask once, but on a lot of apps nowadays it's a daily or weekly occurrence. That's annoying. If I already said that I do not wish to rate/review your app, don't ask again.


The primary purpose of the app is to do whatever the app is supposed to do, so unless the app's only purpose is to ask for feedback then asking for feedback (especially in the middle of a task) is disruptive and annoying.

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Furthermore I think asking for reviews should be banned by the App Store (whether Google's or Apple's) guidelines as to put every app on the same playing field. Reviews are best when they come organically instead of being gamed by nagging the user (and a lot of people will just respond randomly with a 5-star just so it gets out of their way).

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This relatively recent (10 years ago this didn't seem like a widespread thing) trend of constantly asking for feedback or similar ("SMASH THAT LIKE BUTTON!") is extremely annoying and I wish all platforms would take steps to penalize this behavior given how annoying it is (as you can probably see right here). It's even worse when it's about a product that has already lots of publicized complaints that remain ignored for years (looking at Windows 10 or similar Microsoft products).

Game theory applies. If everybody stopped doing this then sure. As things stand ratings/likes/points are a signal to the aggregators that a thing is popular and useful.

Note that on iOS asking for reviews otherwise than through the system dialog is basically forbidden (rule 5.6.1). This method does not allow spamming the user as the dialog can only be shown a number of times during a period of time.

Then the correct game-theoretic action to make this behaviour stop is to leave a 1-star review on any app that asks.

Maybe. But I don’t really mind as a user as long as they use the system dialog. And I use it as a developer myself.

I think Apple already does block apps that keep fishing for reviews. But I haven't used iOS in a while. Google's validation process isn't that deep so they will usually miss this.

But yes I agree, it is so annoying. Especially in paid apps. I already paid for the app so obviously I like it.

Not really unless it is spamming users. Apple have an API for sending "yes I like your app" to give a rating and give "no I hate it" a feedback form. On the Play store it is "gaming the system". In the App store it is "working as intended".

It would be hilariously ironic if this turned out to be /u/Nextgrid's most highly upvoted post

I agree and I wish YouTube videos stopped asking me to subscribe and click the notification bell.

The point is to make it not work so that they try something else.

If your user experience pisses off users you'll get knee jerk reactions.

I'm probably in the minority here and I can't speak for any startup I worked for, but persoonally, I prefer "Sign Up" way more than any of those other variations. It's familiar, I don't ignore it, and I have a pretty good sense of what to expect (giving my email, making up a password, and getting a verification email and clicking on it).

Most of the other examples are problematic for me personally when I imagine what's involved: "Try it Free" or "Free Trial" makes me think they want my credit card upfront, "Get Access" sounds like they want me to jump through some hoops, "Get Started" sounds like the beginning of a long painful series of steps.

But I guess if those get 3x clicks, I must be in the minority.

I feel the same. By now pretty everyone knows what 'Sign Up' means so it's as clear as can be. All the others are obfuscation - I especially dislike the one which gets a special mention: 'Start Drawing'. I'm not going to call it a lie because yes indeed it will eventually lead you to start drawing, but to me it's like trying to fool users. It sounds like you can start right away, but no, you have to sign up first.

As an English non-native, I sometimes still confuses which is a link to login, "Sign In" or "Sign Up".

These expert tips try to say "this works for x, so it must work for all". I don't agree. I also think that there is a point in keeping things simple. Keeping things simple has been the key to success of many great companies

Well said, and I fully agree - though the hacker news crew is rarely ever in the majority when it comes to internet demographics. It must work well considering the A/B test screenshot he included.

Even better: If possible, don't ask for a signup until the user has actually tried your product. Just create a guest account which is deleted if unclaimed for a week or so, and disable "sensitive" features that could be abused.

I have a couple of sites where I allow them to use the product just like a signed-in user, but to save their work, they need to sign in. So people can play around and try things about before entrusting me with their email.

Oh man, some web stores are like that! It's sooooooo nice. Like, you place your order as a guest and at the end it's like "hey if you give us a password we'll make an account for you!"


And you then sign up to ShoppingSpree.com in order to get your thing delivered. Email verification comes in, everything set. You get to the final order screen, enter your address and now they tell you they don't ship to your country, and the information was never shown before, as they never actually performed the validation until after you signed up.

Yeah, been through that. So much fun.

But hey, no problem, you can still get these 4 newsletters Free Of Charge delivered Straight To Your Inbox weekly! No need to thank us!

Ughh, I went through an online loan application that after collecting all kinds of sensitive personal information told me St the final step that my country was not supported.

This page immediately had a pop up to ask for my email... funny...

Scrimba who recently posted a launch HN [1] does this for their teaching/coding platform.

It’s so rare to see that I thought wow this is it was really neat! [2] is an example of this.

1 https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24579699

2 https://scrimba.com/learn/learnreact/react-todo-app-phase-7-...

That's a great way of doing it: The initial friction is essentially 0 and you're already locking the user in a bit.

Pinterest drove me up a wall with this. I didn't sign up for 4-5 years, and only because I actually needed to see an image for work, because the arrogance was annoying. I have a permanent dislike for their product because of it.

That's what we do. At www.calcapp.net, our main call-to-action is "Start app builder (no sign-up required)". Visitors are then informed that they'll need to create an account before leaving the service, otherwise their work won't be saved.

At least one visitor was annoyed when they learned that they had to create an account in order to save their work and access certain features. They thought that the "no sign-up required" part meant that they would never have to sign up for an account.

Perhaps we could fix this by going with "Try app builder" instead of "Start app builder"?

This is how Discord works and it’s really great there. Anyone can start chatting with just an invite link.

Couldn't disagree more.

In my experience buttons like "Start Drawing" are gateways to convoluted wizard signups in which I'm going to be asked to give out a bunch of informataion, possibly to find out 5 minutes in that whatever I wanted is beyond a pay wall or comes with conditions.

If that button is integrated with on page content and not in the header and the flow feels natural than I'm much more open to it.

If the rest of the site makes me want to sign up, then I'm going to look around for something clearly indicating that I can sign up or create an account.

I will say that over years in web design I have found that my preferences correspond very poorly with average preferences but I personally consider what they are saying to be an anti pattern.

I'm not sure. "Start Trading Bitcoins" is a bit generic and long, but may be fine when always visible. "Get access" may not be something one would even be required to sign up for.

An advantage of "Sign Up" is it's consistency: My usual flow is that I'll look around the website to see whether it's something worth signing up for and when I finally decide to do it something like "Start trading Bitcoins" might throw me off.

Here's another sign-up-related UX-crime however: Disrespecting your current users. A lot of services bundle their log in/sign up functionality and prioritize the "sign up" part so much that it becomes incredibly hard to find, especially when it's a fancy short sign up form that looks like one for logging in.

It always sends a clear signal about how much you care about people signing up to your service vs. people actually using it.

Tumblr is a great example of the opposite: They just present a "log in" page by default and make the "sign up" a little harder to find: This creates just a tiny bit of FOMO ("huh, how do I sign up? Is it invite-only?") and makes the user feel better about actually signing up.

Of course Tumblr is a social medium for teenagers and not a SaaS, but in general anything one is expected to use at least semi-frequently should not be difficult to log in to. A good option is to put the forms on equal footing or just ask for the e-mail address and direct the user depending on whether it's already registered.

On the other hand, I do appreciate the relative consistency with "Sign Up". Because it's de facto standard, I know what to expect when I click that button. Sometimes I want to create an account and seeing a button like "Start Drawing" doesn't tell me what to expect.

Some of the ones in the happy medium seem good though, like "Create a Free Account" or "Sign Up Free".

“Start Drawing” taking me to a sign up page is more likely to make me close the tab since I feel cheated. It’s not called the standard “Sign Up” so I expect to be taken to something other than a sign up page.

From a year earlier, and related:

Ars Technica: "No, I won’t install your app or subscribe to your newsletter."


I had to turn off notifications in my browser because every page would pop the question. Like. NO! Notifications are evil.

The number of websites for which I want notifications isn't zero.

It's drastically smaller than the ones which bug me about it, and no, it doesn't include your regional news site or niche vertical blog, and it never will.

> The number of websites for which I want notifications isn't zero.

It is zero for me! I consider notifications the greatest annoyance a computer can give me. Like, I hate it when a computer complains to me when I unplug a USB device without ejecting it.

Yet some devs here clamor for Apple to allow them to inflict “Add to Home Screen” prompts and background processing in browsers upon iOS users.

Whenever I see someone saying Apple should “open” their platform up to that kind of shit, I know exactly whose products to avoid.

There are ways to block those things at an OS level. However, I've given up on the idea of using an iPhone like a computer. Mine gets used for phone calls, text messages, checking my email, and when I need to look something up on a website when I'm not near a computer.

Gaming on it is a disaster. The store is full of garbage and Apple's subscription service doesn't have a single game I'm interested in. Everyone got too hooked on the "it's free but pay us $30/month in fake currency!" thing. I can't even find a friggin hex calculator app without finding 20 versions that have in-app purchases. WTF?

Then there's nonsense like if you have an apple watch. Oh you have an iPhone 6 and want an Apple watch S6? Gee what a shame. You have an iPhone 6 and updated your S4? Yeah that's not going to work anymore. You reinstalled your OS? Now let's spend 10 minutes re-pairing your watch!

Then there's stupid bugs. I had to restart my iphone after being on a month because Siri wouldn't work until it did. Even then - there was a long stretch of time where Siri wouldn't work when I was in the car for no reason. I'd just get "Sorry I'm having trouble with the connection" no matter what.

> *Oh you have an iPhone 6 and want an Apple watch S6? Gee what a shame. You have an iPhone 6 and updated your S4? Yeah that's not going to work anymore. You reinstalled your OS? Now let's spend 10 minutes re-pairing your watch

Are you complaining about a -6- year old phone not being compatible with the latest accessories?

Newsflash: That problems happens on every platform. What's the oldest PC that can drive an RTX 3080 without upgrading something else too like the PSU or motherboard? Does the Wiimote work on a Switch? Will a PS2 connect to a DualSense?

iOS 14 is supported on the iPhone 6s.

A device that's five years old.

That's much better than state of compatibility and updates over on Android.

A relevant 2013 blog post, No, I'm not going to download your bullshit app.


Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5162841

Especially random bloggers who think their "content" is so damn valuable that they pop up a newsletter subscription within seconds of the page loading.

Past experience had shown me that if your your signup button is called "Get Started" I simply won't see it!

My favourite example of this tiny anti-pattern is https://kepler.gl/

They offer amazing open source software for GIS. You can install it from GitHub - but if you click the "Get Started" button they will drop you into a hosted experience (no signup required) which is just insanely useful.

It took me far too long to figure this out, because I didn't think to click on "Get Started".

(Even "start using" would have been a huge improvement)

Yeah, what the hell do "Get started" and "Learn more" mean? I have clicked these generic CTAs <a low single digit number> times in my life.

I don't mind learn more but it's suspicious enough that I'll definitely hover over the button to see the full url and if it goes to a page like /myproduct/details we're cool but if learn more redirects to /signup the site instantly appears sketchy and like I'm part of some optimize sales funnel.

Need YouTube to stop asking me for a premium free trial

If I ever did think about subscribing to Youtube to get rid of commercials, they do so many user hostile things that I wouldn’t.

- no Picture in Picture support in the iPad app. So I have to use a third party app. I think it supports PiP from Safari on the iPad.

- when iOS 14 came out and supported PiP on the phone, you could use PiP to view Youtube in Safari. Google went out of its way to disable it the next day.

- then people found a work around by viewing in desktop mode. A day later Google disabled that.

- So now I have to use a Shortcut to watch YouTube with PiP.

Google's behavior on iOS is incredibly petty, and I'm of the opinion that it damages the brand.

All of their apps are 'google flavored', they staunchly refuse to design iOS apps which behave like iOS apps.

As a result, I have the strong impression that Android must just be awful stuff that you couldn't pay me to use.

A false impression, I'm quite sure. If someone jumped through numerous hoops to make an Android app behave like a fake iOS app, I'm sure that would be at least as off-putting.

I don't know whether it's arrogance (Google thinks that Material is just the bees knees and everyone should use it) or a deliberate attempt to show off the wonderful world of Google Services on Android, but either way, it leaves a bad taste.

People think that the only reason that Apple didn’t allow you to choose your default apps for browsing and mail was because it was trying to be anti-competitive. Even though Apple makes no money from Safari or Mail.

But it took Google 5 years to support split view for Gmail on iPad. There should be a minimum set of functionality you have to support to be eligible to be the default app that goes beyond what Apple requires.


Yeah. I hated iTunes on Windows and Safari for Windows during its brief existence. It’s just as off putting seeing an Apple app on Windows that acts like a Mac app.

Don’t get me started about the old QuickTime for Windows back in the day.

Need Amazon to stop replacing the "Continue" button with "Continue with Prime".

Keep cancelling it, but they keep tricking me again.

Buy somewhere else ? They continue because people tolerate their abuse, because convenience.

Or when you don't have a YouTube account, you just get pestered nonstop to sign up nowadays. I don't even know why. Just let me watch the fucking video!

Exactly. This drives me nuts and I'm surprised I haven't heard more people complain about this. Does everyone else use YouTube while signed in? I'm getting tracked enough already without that.

Everyone who is logged into Google, as in Gmail or Google Docs or Google Analytics etc are automatically logged into YouTube as well.

Even if they never explicitly created a YouTube account.

In fact, if you login to Gmail part of the authentication flow redirects via youtube.com and back.

Probably most people are logged into Gmail or Google Docs, so they don't see the YouTube sign-up request.

If you use YouTube so much that a free trial offer bothers you, you might just consider subscribing. Ad-free YouTube is a glorious experience.

Long ago, I decided Google will not get a single penny from my purse, and I have lived up to that.

Ad-free YouTube = ad blocker in a browser ... while that lasts :)

To preempt the question about content creators: I support the creators I want to support on patreon or by pledging on their website.

Your usage of YouTube cost Google money. If you believe Google doesn't deserve your money, why consume their product?

Their product is the platform. I’m not there to consume the platform. I’m there to watch videos uploaded by a third party. I could care less who hosts it.

If you want people to view your ads then don’t serve content using a protocol that have user agents that run on my machine where I am in control of what they do, or at least if you do, don’t be surprised when I run user agents that do what I want them to do.

Google's alternative is to embed the ads directly into the video at presentation time (which also won’t work so long as I can fast forward).

It's sheer hypocrisy that makes you think you're in the right. The platform costs money to deliver content to you.

You could care less who hosts it yet you care to type YouTube.com into your address bar to find the content you want.

In any case, if you think the company doesn't deserve your money, simply don't consume videos via their platform.

If you really mean it, simply stop using the service because the more you use it, the more they retain market share and get to serve more ads to other users. So effectively, you're contributing to their growth.

Live by your word and don't use YouTube if you detest Google that much.

There's no dignity in double standards.

Wonderful. So when, as an individual, I watch a company:

- evading most taxes,

- offering 0 support to users,

- breaking the user experience to force users through their “app funnel,”

- shutting down independent developers without recourse,

- bullying any small fish in their path,

- conspiring to depress labour salaries, and

- shirking any societal or moral obligations,

...that’s just business.

But then when, having observed their psychopathic behaviour, I decide that I don’t want to be part of funding this evil entity, now I’m holding a double standard by accessing the content this monopoly has become the sole gatekeeper for.

Give me a break.

(Leaving untouched the fact that their business model revolves around collecting as much private information as possible.)

You're okay with enjoying free food from an armed robber as long as you're not the one he's robbing even though you know the food is funded with proceeds of crime.

You're strawmanning ahmedalsudani's argument. They are not saying that Google is an armed robber, nor is using YouTube anywhere near as essential to survival as food, so this is a bad analogy.

They're effectively saying Google is an unethical company and yet they continue to use the platform of this unethical company, a platform whose existence is solely dependent on the unethical practices of Google (as it has been mentioned over and over that Youtube is running at a loss).

As long as it's the only place where I can have food, yes.

yesplorer is using the time honored "won't somebody think of the corporations?!" deflection.

i don't care about Google. All I'm saying is if you hate the organization, don't be a parasite and us their platform. It's just about principle.

No, sorry. Don’t make your content freely accessible on the web if you don’t want to bear the cost of hosting it. Don’t serve it over a protocol that explicitly doesn’t require a user agent to mindlessly obey the commands given to it by virtue of running on someone else’s machine.

YouTube has operated the same business model as companies like Uber and Jet. They deliberately burn money and turn no profits in order to gain the most marketshare. Then, after they have dominated the marketplace, they start raising prices, showing more ads, etc, to start turning that around.

Give me a different path to the content, and I will gladly take it. The reason I take this roundabout route is that YouTube owns the monopoly on online video.

And Google still makes money off me because I can’t block their ads on Apple TV—I just don’t want to hand them money from my own accounts. They have become incredibly user-hostile once they felt secure in their monopoly position. That attitude completely turned me off.

Probably the same reason people used IE6 after it went stagnant. What was your choice? It's not like most YouTube channels have websites they publish stuff to as an alternative.

The real answer if you're working in the space is that users will take a free thing over a paid/ad thing any day. They'll usually come up with some rationalization (don't like DRM, don't like targeting, etc.) but the reality is they just don't want to pay.

Don't fall into the trap of ever trying to build for these guys. No money will ever arrive, only ever more obscure conditions for the money.

There are places where users will pay. Just make things for them instead.

From my comment:

> To preempt the question about content creators: I support the creators I want to support on patreon or by pledging on their website.

Every month, I happily fork over more money than my annual value to google. Only in one case is that money for paywalled material. The rest is purely to support content I enjoy. I would be equally willing to fund a platform that does not treat users and creators as cattle.

It’s true that many users have an inflated sense of entitlement. That has been created by the business model of offering “free” services in exchange for your data. Giving Google money now to get rid of the ads is rewarding them for building monopolies and then bilking their users.

Speaking for myself and not for the average user, I’m not about to fork over my data and my cash to the #1 beneficiary of the user entitlement that you’re describing.

Sure, but you're just one guy. I'm just telling that dude there's no point building for one guy. And you have this requirement on the data thing. The next guy is going to be like "Oh yeah, I do the same, but I give in Bitcoin" and the next guy is like "I only do it if the owner has a moustache on one side of his lip". There's no replicability. Like, I actually thought Patreon was pretty solid but it turns out they're not in a good place at all. Revenue is really low and growth isn't even that great.

Patreon never allowed porn but I wonder if there'll be a substitution effect with OnlyFans etc. We'll see. I just don't think catering to people like you is a good business. I'd stay out of it, honestly.

Understood, and I agree that most users will be part of the race to the bottom.

It has been encouraging, however, watching more and more creative people switch to a direct relationship with their fans and basically doubling their ad-based income when only a small fraction of their audience signs up.

If 1% of your audience pays you about the same as the revenue from the other 99% through ads, there might be alternative models that can work. Not massively scalable ones, mind, but ones that can still provide a sustainable living without turning the user and creator into the product.

I am holding out for those platforms. In the meantime, I directly sign up with the people I like, and I avoid feeding the beast, trivial as I am.

Hey, we all do the thing that lets us be true to myself. I offset my carbon 100%, a thing that does nothing on its own for climate change, so I can relate to your position.

> Ad-free YouTube is a glorious experience.

I get this for free using AdGuard Home[1] that blocks ads at the network level. It's great.

[1] https://github.com/AdguardTeam/AdGuardHome

DNS blocking doesn’t work on ads in YouTube’s mobile apps.

NewPipe does, and you can do picture-in-picture on phones for free.

It's already ad-free if you use uBlock Origin. And so is the rest of the internet.

I didn't know YouTube even had ads for several years. Family and I all use adblock. Then I watched a video on someone else's computer and it was like, where did all these ads come from?

I am literally just now learning in this comment thread that Youtube has ads...

I'm not sure I've seen an ad on youtube, but I do know there's nothing glorious about it.

Kind of a dumb suggestion given you have no idea how much money the parent has, so how much they can afford to pay to avoid annoyance.

This laser focus on GET HIM TO SIGN UP puts me in a defensive, adversarial position. How about you leave me alone and let me use the service? If it's useful to me then I'll absolutely figure out how to sign up, and semantic nonsense like the fact the the button is titled "sign up" is absolutely not stopping me.

What semantic nonsense like this WILL affect: you're creating a glut of disinterested users and firmly establishing your brand's identity as "one of those emails I have to delete every once in a while. I should cancel that thing or just filter it to spam". Now your metrics are blurry.

>"Sign Up" buttons don't work because You're asking for blind commitment and not providing any value

not solved by renaming the button.

You can always buy a domain at http://domains.Google with free email forwarding then forward say samantha@mydomain.com to samantha@mailinator.com

This gives you the ability to create accounts on sites to try them out, while being able to check emails without paying for email service or getting spam forwards to your real email.

Makes it impractical for the provider of the service to block the forward without blocking Google clients.

I used to just use Mailinator mx records but providers wised up and started doing mx record checks.

I've noticed a movement with newspapers and other media sites to go one farther with a pop-up overlay begging for subscription where I have to hunt for the close button.

I’d like to see somebody create a real paper newspaper that mimics what they have become today.

I’d imagine you’d start with the newspaper as it was 20 years ago: newsprint with some black text on it. Then you’d overlay some opaque paper over that with some text in it that said, “give us your address or phone number so we can contact you for breaking news”. Instead of a close button it would be something that people would have to tear off each page of the paper.

That’s not all though. Each paper would come with an actual person who would sit behind you and quietly take meticulous notes on which articles you read and how you reacted to them. That person would quietly leave with the notes, take it back to HQ, and tabulate which articles people engaged with the most. Over time the content with the lowest engagement would be trimmed and those journalists fired.

This is the world we live in today.

Twenty years ago, every self-respecting middle class household within a 50-mile radius of your newsroom subscribed to your paper from adulthood until death. Unless you lived in a major city like NY or Chicago, you likely had no competition for subscribers. And, every business in that radius bought ads in your paper.

The ads had some kind of human review so scams and Taboola/Outbrain weren't a thing and people trusted them which was a win-win for both the consumer, the newspaper and the advertiser.

Have you ever perused the ads in the back sections of old newspapers and magazines? There was all kinds of crazy stuff. I remember getting Boy's Life, the Boy Scout magazine, and there was an ad every single month for x-ray glasses. Do you think they worked??

That person sitting behind you also has to start pleading with you to sign up for a subscription the moment you look away from it to get your coffee.

Not only that, they start to guilt trip you if you don't watch all 60 seconds of that really hilarious ad that you didn't ask to see but they're sure you'll enjoy anyway.

Not really, because you would have paid for that paper. I get the criticisms about paywalls and pop ups and all that, but let’s acknowledge that they have to make money somehow or they won’t last.

Paying for a digital subscription doesn't relieve you of those problems. They still want to send you notifications and they still track you as you use their site.

In fact, if you are used to ad blocking in the web browser, it can make the problem worse! Every digital subscription I’ve paid for put me onto multiple mailing lists, some of which are active multiple times a week, and required me to unsubscribe from them individually.

You understand that all the ads and classifieds subsidized the hell out of that paper, right?

They want $5 for some magazines now and there are so many ads at the beginning that you can’t find the fucking table of contents to locate the cover articles that grabbed your eye.

That’s pretty close to what pop ups do.

They don't track your reading metrics when you're a subscriber?

and then there are those who don't have a close button and make me open up the console, delete that DOM element and restore the scroll. Had to once so it on a website that was teaching javascript, which was ironic.

Someone should make an extension that does this automatically.

uBlock Origin has annoyance filters that do just this

I did not realize this, thanks for the note. I had 0/7 of these turned on.

They convert I'm afraid, and it's a good place to remind the reader that this is a product they use

What does this "conversion" mean? The ultimate objective would be for some $$$ to leave the user's wallet and go into the company's wallet, and I am not sure if this actually happens.

First off, people who give out their email easily would typically do so on plenty of other sites and your subsequent upselling emails are likely to get lost in an inbox flooded by spam.

Second, I'd argue that people who have the most disposable income or influence on purchasing decisions made by their company are also those whose time is limited and are too smart to fall for such tricks, so the majority of leads you do end up with would be worthless.

> What does this "conversion" mean

It means converting from a free user to a paid subscriber

> I am not sure if this actually happens

un/fortunately it happens quite a bit

Add the "Kill Sticky" script/button to your bookmark bar. Problem solved.

I was hoping this article was going in the direction of "Making it clearer what startups are providing for free and what they're providing for a cost" but unfortunately it's just about the wording of your sign up button.

I was trying to download Postman to test something out earlier this week, and not only is there no button on the webpage to go to downloads, but even when you download the app it still prompts you to sign up/log in with a tiny greyed out link at the bottom saying "Skip signing in".

If you want to really drive sales, stop with this user-hostile adversarial bullshit and start putting my needs first. For me, this article is still putting the companies needs first.

Often times if "sign up" feels like a blind commitment, it is the copy or narrative arc of the landing page that is poor and not just the CTA. Also, in some cases (eg: platforms that have multiple equally important but diverse features, like infrastructure as a service companies) there is not one clear "action" to prompt the user and "Sign up" feels a bit more neutral.

This is mainly an UI issue. Browser vendors were disincentivised to offer straight authentication API both easy to implement for websites and easy to use for users, because it was seen as threatening to users' privacy.

Maybe it is harder than I think, like, why can't the browser maintain an identity/profile and allow me to use it to one-click sign in to any website? But I don't see anyone really trying, only saved passwords hacks. Or it is supplied by Facebook and Google instead of your browser.

That does exist in the form of WebAuthn: https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/Web_Authent...

There's also the Web OTP API: https://web.dev/web-otp/

There's been quite a lot of investment in this space by browsers and also by the standards groups like the FIDO Alliance.

Mozilla attempted to solve this using "Persona", but it never took off and they shut it down. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Archive/Mozilla/Per...

Why is it a hack? Saving the password does make it 1 click now.

But you are supposed to make a new password for every service when signing in. And fill in your name. Browser may detect there's registration form and autofill but it's ad-hoc, there isn't any standard for that.

The standard is WebAuthn: https://webauthn.io/

Otherwise there are HTML5 input field autocompletes which tell the browser what the field is for. Chrome is very good with this and you can fill out an email + new password in seconds.

Tja. Facebook and Google account login filled that void.

And then Cambridge Analytica came along and abused the moronic security of Login with Facebook (fine, AFAIK technically it was quizes on the FB platform) and 4 years later we have... I don't know, people dying because they injected bleach into their body because their Dear Leader said "we should look into that"...

Don't "growth hack" your sign up, just remove it completely if at all possible, or push it as late as possible in the process (after the user has engaged with the product).

This is one of the lessons of TikTok.

Virtually every SV startup asks you to sign up now, provide a ton of information about yourself, and then spam you relentlessly with marketing email.

Part of TikTok's genius is that you just open up the app and you're immediately interacting with the content.

I was intrigued by this comment and downloaded TikTok, only to find that they now push for sign up immediately!

1) provide a good service

2) gain market share

3) gain marketing patterns

I'm avoiding shops that require me to sign in in order to purchase things

Why would you need me to login in order to purchase thing? that's weird.

Most sites have the pattern that you can buy as a guest, but the reason for creating an account is obvious: it massively reduces friction for repeat customers, which is good for customers and good for the business.

Headline: Stop Asking Me to “Sign Up”

Above headline: A banner asking me to sign up for a newsletter.

Anyone else find this a bit pedantic?

As a consumer of a website, I infer what service is being offered.

I doubt I even bother reading the CTA buttons - I just know I need to click some things to start getting the service I read about.

> They're ignored

I don't ignore the button - it is the exact same pattern on every website. I'm just following a flow.

> You're asking for blind commitment

It's not a blind commitment. I want to try something, they need me to create an account. It's reasonable.

> You're not offering any value.

The button isn't offering the value - the rest of the website is. The button is just the next step in getting the value (see #1).

off-topic, but he shared a picture of an A/B test result. I've used several SaaS A/B test products but am not satisfied with any (built for marketers, not engineers)

I just want a service where I can pipe all relevant live experiment data and it does the statistics to tell me the statistical significance and has some dashboarding. Anything like that exist? Self-hosted?

I don't need something that injects itself into my site or even sets up the experiment.

Screenshot is from Optimizely, which unfortunately is not what you're looking for. I've only ever used them and Google Optimize (my current go-to), which is not self-hosted.

> You're not offering any value. Asking someone to "sign up" offers no help in changing the visitor's thinking from "Why should I?" to "I want this!"

>Give, don't take. "Get Access" and "Sign Up" both lead to the same thing, but one makes the visitor feel they're getting something, while the other doesn't.

I think these are really important points. Provide something of value to find loyalty.

The sites referenced in the post have changed since 2014, yet I stand by the recommendation: Tie your offers and calls-to-action to what your visitors want.

An interesting one is from Cloudflare, they have a call-to-action in their main menu: “Under attack?”

But see also this parallel comment from kevmo314:

> I do appreciate the relative consistency with "Sign Up". Because it's de facto standard, I know what to expect when I click that button. Sometimes I want to create an account and seeing a button like "Start Drawing" doesn't tell me what to expect.

I wonder whether it might be advantageous to include the same option twice in a menu, once as "Sign Up" and once as whatever you prefer.

Though in the CloudFlare example, I'd tend to expect "sign up" to link to a page that was mostly about pricing, and "under attack?" to link to a page that was mostly about how CloudFlare helps with that.

In their case Sign Up goes to an account creation page, and Under Attack? goes to a sales form that (presumably) will page a sales development rep (SDR) to wake up, qualify the lead, and fetch a solutions engineer and sales exec duo.

In any case, the implied lesson in the article is to A/B test different ideas and see what works, rather than sticking to the default.

I think the button coloring makes up for that. I've signed up for loads of services in the last month and the primary colored bright button being the CTA has been consistent enough for me.

In any case, the numbers are the numbers. Whatever gets most people into an account is what it is. Many guys just fail that part: fill in a thing and we'll contact you. Yeah, no thanks. It's a $200 / mo product not a mortgage. Spare me.

> In any case, the numbers are the numbers. Whatever gets most people into an account is what it is.

This doesn't really seem to respond to the idea that you can have more than one label present doing the same thing.

Correct. It is a response to the idea of the two different links to two different places. In practice, I see one as brightly coloured and "Read the Whitepaper" as secondary coloured.

No kidding. I might 'sign up' after I've visited your page/ tried out your thing ten times on ten different days and found that it was worth my while. Likely not.

I warned the encyclopedia salesman that I didn't need a reference work. He went ahead and pitched me. I humored him for a half-hour. Then I asked him, after he'd finished, if he believed me now. I'm still enjoying my time-investment.

The bigger and more prominent the button, the more needy it looks. It's gotten to the point that when I see that I just close the tab.

Irks me because the whole 'sign up' thingy is unnecessary. How about, I give a key when I visit a site. If I want to be recognized the next time I come I'll give the same key.

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