When someone wants to take certain actions on your platform, they need to register first. Next to asking basic information like name, email, and password, you can also add custom questions to the registration process, depending on the kind of user data you want to gather.

In turn, the answers to those registration questions (the user data) can be used to

  • Create smart groups, to define access rights and send custom emails;

  • Discover in your dashboard which groups you are reaching on the platform, and which ones not yet;

  • Spot differences or similarities between different user groups in terms of opinions or behavior on the platform.

This article guides you through the steps to get your registration process all set up:

  1. Start from your platform's default registration fields

  2. Add custom registration fields

  3. Add some helper text and change the order of the fields

Before you start, there are two important considerations to take into account:

  • The number of questions you want to ask: it's all about striking a balance between the need of having many relevant data points, and your participants' need for a smooth registration flow and their resistance against sharing too much information.

  • It's crucial you define these registration fields before launch. It's always possible to add, edit or delete fields along the way, but existing users won't automatically be asked to fill in any updated or new field that you've added. This means that, when adding a field after launching your platform, you won't have the answers to that field from your existing participants.

1. Start from your platform's default registration fields

Your platform comes with a set of default registration fields that are relevant to ask in many contexts:

  • Place of residence: people will be able to pick from the options you've set under "Geographic areas".

  • Gender: the built-in options are 'Male', 'Female', and 'Unspecified'; If you'd like to customize this, you can turn off this toggle, and create a custom field as explained under title 2.

  • Year of birth: when using this default field, the answers get automatically binned in age groups in the graph on your dashboard (cf. the bar chart below).

  • Education: the built-in options are 'Lower secondary education', 'Upper secondary education', 'Post-secondary non-tertiary education', 'Short-cycle tertiary education', 'Bachelor or equivalent', 'Master or equivalent', and 'Doctoral or equivalent'.

users by age

Do you want to turn off one of these default fields, as it's not relevant for your context, or you'd like to create a custom field instead? Simply disable it by clicking the toggle.

Do you want to make sure all participants fill in a specific default field during registration? Click 'Edit' and turn the option 'Make answering this field required?' on.

2. Add custom registration fields

You can now also add any number of custom registration fields for your participants to fill in. These are the different formats you can choose from:

  • Multiple choice (select one): create a list of options, from which participants can only select one - e.g. 'Which household income range applies to you?';

  • Multiple choice (select multiple): create a list of options, of which participants can select one or more - e.g. 'What topics are you interested in?';

  • Yes-no (checkbox): ask a closed yes-no question, on which participants can answer 'yes' by checking the box - e.g. 'Are you interested to join our citizen panel?';

  • Short answer: ask an open question on which you expect short answers - e.g. 'In what neighbourhood do you live?';

  • Long answer: ask an open question on which you expect longer answers - e.g. 'What do you hope to contribute to this platform?';

  • Numeric value: ask a question on which one can only answer with a number - e.g. 'How many people live in your household?';

  • Date: ask a question on which one can only answer with a date - e.g. 'When did you first hear about this platform?'.

You can now

  1. Name your custom registration field

  2. Add a description to it, to help participants understand how they should answer the question

  3. If you want to turn certain questions into a required field, turn on the toggle "Make answering this field required?". When you make it a required field, participants won't be able to complete their registration without answering that question.

  4. Save

When you selected 'Multiple choice' as the registration field format, you will now be able to add the answer options people can choose from.

3. Add some helper text and change the order of the fields

This third and final step is all about optimizing the experience for your participants.

Start by adding some helper text to explain why you are asking these questions during registration and to create sufficient trust with participants to answer them.

  1. Step 1: email and password: This text will be shown on the top of the first page of the sign-up form (asking for a name, email and password).

  2. Step 2: registration questions: This is shown on the top of the second page of the sign-up form (asking to fill out the additional registration fields).

You can also change the order of all registration fields by dragging and dropping them at any given place in the list. Make sure to bring a logical flow to your questions, and group linked registration fields together (e.g. ask for someone's neighbourhood, after asking for the place of residence).

reorder registration fields

You're now all set up to offer participants a smooth registration flow while making sure you collect all relevant user data on your platform.

Need help or support? Don’t hesitate to get in touch via support@citizenlab.co.

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