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The Definitive Guide to User Registration Systems

By Michael Olson | Posted on August 27, 2012

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This is the second in aseries of blog posts outlining best practices for integrating social technologies on your site.

A lot of work is involved with building and maintaining a registration system. From all of the front-end development work associated with creating registration screens and forms as well as user profile pages, to the back-end work associated with ensuring data quality and managing workflow. They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and believe us – neither are robust registration systems when built from scratch.

The challenge for brands that try to do so is that most are not in the business of registration systems. Therefore, it is a distraction from a company’s core competency and costly to devote IT resources to building and maintaining one.

Planning for Success:

Quickly Create Customized Registration Screens that Match Your Site’s Look and Feel

With the exception of your home page, registration screens serve as the “front door” of your site. When using a hosted registration system, they need to be easy to create and deploy, as well as customize to match your site’s look and feel. Your hosted system should support registration and profile management screens that are written and easily deployed via JavaScript and not rendered via iframes. Screens rendered via JavaScript possess faster performance and response times, and are more easily customizable either by editing the code or injecting CSS styling.

Drive Mobile and Tablet Usage with Responsive Design

There is nothing more annoying than visiting a site on your mobile or tablet device and encountering screens that are akin to peering at an ant colony – there is a bunch of tiny stuff on the screen, but you can’t really tell what’s going on down there. If you are vexed by text that is microscopic, then ensure that your hosted registration system supports responsive design. Registration and profile management screens should dynamically adjust to different form factors on various mobile and tablet devices without any work on your part.

Improve Data Quality with Comprehensive Back-end Tools and Workflow

Data integrity is critical for any successful online business. Your registration system should support a comprehensive set of tools and workflow out of the box, such as password management and reset logic, email verification workflows, in-line field validation, CAPTCHA spam prevention, dirty word filtering, COPPA flows and terms of service acceptance.

Put Users in Control of Their Data with Public and Private Pages and Fields

User profile pages are an excellent way to foster community on your site. But some people are more introverted than others. Give users control over the visibility of their profile and let them toggle individual fields on their site profile to be displayed as public or private, depending on their preference.

Case Study


Universal Music Group outsourced its registration system to focus web development efforts on building more engaging music artist sites. In doing so, Universal Music Group has been able to rapidly deploy site registration screens that are custom-branded to match the look and feel of each music artist site. In addition, Universal Music Group is building community engagement through the use of profile pages that allow music fans to specify public and private fields and make their presence heard on an artist site.

To learn more about how to effectively utilize user registration and other technologies, check out our Definitive Guide to User Management.

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About the author

Michael Olson

Michael Olson

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Michael Olson joined Janrain more than five and a half years ago and has experienced the explosive growth of the digital marketing technology landscape. Previously, he managed demand generation programs at Janrain. Currently, as the Senior Product Marketing Manager, Michael drives go-to-market strategy for product launches as well as positioning and messaging to communicate the value of customer profile management solutions to companies. Michael's writing has been featured in publications such as GigaOM, Adotas and iMedia Connection.

View all posts by Michael Olson