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Try the new login and account creation on Wikimedia projects

An account creation and login process that is simple and pleasurable to use is a must-have for engaging more contributors to Wikimedia projects. On just Wikipedia’s English-language version, more than 3,000 people sign up for an account on an average day. These interfaces are often the first time a new editor interacts with the site, beyond consuming content.

We’re happy to announce that, starting today, users of all Wikimedia projects will be able to try a new look for our account creation and login. For about a week, we’re asking all Wikimedia volunteer editors to give the update a try and help us spot any nagging bugs or errors in translation. We’ll then enable the new forms as the default on all our wikis.

The new account creation (mockup)

The new account creation (mockup)

Help test the new forms

If you’re a current or prospective member of a Wikimedia community, we need your help. Please give the new interfaces a try, report bugs, or leave comments for us on your wiki’s preferred noticeboard.

We’re providing this week-long testing period–instead of simply rolling out the new interface with less advance notice–to get help making sure our localizations are correct and the interfaces will be bug free for the 800 or so wiki communities we support.

Both links above are to our largest and most active community, English Wikipedia, but if you’re a contributor to any other project, you can try out the new forms by simply appending &useNew=1 to either URL on your favorite wiki. You can also find more detailed, step-by-step testing instructions if you’re willing to go a little deeper with testing the forms.

How we got here

The new login (mockup)

The new login (mockup)

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Editor Engagement Experiments team has been optimizing these forms, using weekly controlled tests to measure the impact of our new signup form and iterate on our ideas. (See our original announcement.)

Overall, the results of these experiments were encouraging. Using English Wikipedia as our proving ground, our most successful experiment gained around 800 additional signups over a two week period. The relative increase in conversion was 4 percent, from 28 percent to 32 percent of users successfully creating an account after visiting the signup page. The total number of new users gained will change based on seasonal trends. We also decreased the number of errors which held up users after they submitted the form by 14 percent.

This interface redesign marks the first time MediaWiki core (the platform shared by all our projects) is using the new form styles that we have experimented with in account creation, our new onboarding experience for Wikipedia editors, and in other features. The patterns we’re introducing via the new account creation and login, codenamed “Agora” by the Wikimedia Foundation design team, will now be able to be reused in a more standardized way by MediaWiki developers.

The redesigns we’re introducing to login and account creation are hardly radical. Simple use of typography, color and vertically-aligned form fields are not what could be called bold innovation in design. Nonetheless, we’re extremely happy to be releasing an experience that will make signing up and logging in less of a burden for the many contributors to Wikimedia communities, and thus enable them to create great, free educational resources.

Steven Walling,
Associate Product Manager

37 Responses to “Try the new login and account creation on Wikimedia projects”

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  1. I interacted with the new log in page today. The blue field combined with a white sans-serif font of the “Log in” button immediately brought [[facebook]] to mind. It caused me to hesitate and consider going back to the old login page as I was initially unsure as to whether I would be initiating an unwanted interaction with an external page (facebook). –Kevjonesin

  2. Fitoschido says:

    Please remove the super-tired blue glow around focused text boxes. I hate seeing it all over the Internet thanks to Twitter Bootstrap!

    • Steven Walling says:

      Do you have a reason why it is not advantageous, beyond the fact that it is common?

  3. Guy Macon says:

    Just tried the login, looks great and works fine on my 1920×1080 screen, full screen and in a small window. I like the layout. I disagree with the comment that having it narrow and to the left is somehow undesirable. It was clearly designed to avoid horizontal scrolling, which is a big win.

    Tried both http and https versions. Both work fine, and (this is important) both look identical.

    My login may have tested something that few logins test; I have a 64 character password. This caused no problems; at my screen resolution and text size it shows 33 black dots, with no overflow issues.

    Usernames appear to be limited to 44 characters. Is this intentional?

    The HTML source has wildly inconsistent indentation. Some sections have no indentation, some have two ASCII tab characters, neither of which is ideal. An often-used page like this should be indented properly.

    For indentation, I like two spaces, but some folks like four or even (spit!) eight. No accounting for taste.

    ASCII tab characters are Evil. See http://www.jwz.org/doc/tabs-vs-spaces.html

    Whatever indentation you use, make it consistent.

    Layout is pretty good as is, but here are my suggestions:

    Instead of

    “Remember my login on this browser (for 30 days)”

    why not

    “Remember my login on this browser for 30 days”

    The parenthesis don’t add anything and look clumsy.

    Also, “Username” and “Password” seem small and light. Perhaps using bold or bumping up the text size a bit would look better?

    – I am [ User:Guy Macon ] on the English Wikipedia.

  4. Anand says:

    Suggestions -
    * The login username should be made case insensitive.
    * After login, we don’t return to the page we were on.

  5. The “login” button – I couldn’t find it, because it was unusual in its size and placement. Make it more normal, and more like regular web forms most people are used to seeing elsewhere on the internet…

  6. ProtoDrake says:

    Looks fine, and seems a little more user friendly than the previous set-up.

  7. Numbermaniac says:

    It looks brilliant! It will be able to use terms such as &returnto=, correct? And can it do that for now, when I click try the new login form?

    • Steven Walling says:

      Yep, returnto and other parameters will work just like normal.

  8. Kippelboy says:

    I agree with Pete’s comment. The “reason” box could be a little more clear with a longer sentence. Good job, btw! :-)

  9. Pete Forsyth says:

    Even so, if I were creating an account for somebody else, the word “reason” wouldn’t be enough for me to know what is being asked for. I think another couple words are needed here.

  10. Bron says:

    I think the new login is much better for desktop users. Keep it simple.

    Thumbs up for working towards mobile users, but on my samsung galaxy s3 it doesn’t fare so well just yet. See the screenshot below. Not sure if it is partly a settings problem on my behalf, but you should be aware of what many android users may be looking at.

    [[File:Screenshot 2013-04-28-09-10-41 1.png|thumb|Test new login page for wikipedia.]]
    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Screenshot_2013-04-28-09-10-41_1.png

    Agree with above re: reason button. Needs explanation, i.e. “Wikipedia has detected you are already logged in to an account on this computer. What is the reason for needing a new account?” (if that was actually the purpose of the field… it confused me!)

    • Steven Walling says:

      Hey Bron,

      Quite right about mobile. Unfortunately our mobile skin, which includes a mobile-friendly version of login and account creation, is not yet enabled on Commons. I’ll try to figure out what the story is.

  11. Mark says:

    I’ll second that the Reason field doesn’t make sense to a new user. I’m not sure why it’s there or what it means. Do I write the Reason I want an account? The reason I chose the email address in the field above?

    Text between signup fields is okay. If the usability projects aim at having more long-term slightly less tech-savvy users (Visual Editor etc..) then a more conversational sign up process + explanation would be better than a challenging sea of textareas.

    But great direction to head in! .. And white space is fine. It’s calming.

    • Steven Walling says:

      Hey Mark,

      The reason field only appears if you’re already logged in. It’s for people who fulfill account creation requests, for those make a request because they can’t fill out the form themselves for accessibility reasons or because of other issues.

      Thanks for the feedback. :)

  12. Ho Tuan Kiet says:

    Can you make the numbers in the sign up page live?

    • Steven Walling says:

      Not a bad idea at all. The numbers do refresh automatically on new page loads, but making them counters would be nice. I’ll investigate doing that.

      Thanks!

  13. wrk3 says:

    My instant impression of the blue Login button was that the page uses Facebook for login, even though the form doesn’t mention “Use Facebook.” Perhaps a different color could be used to avoid giving this impression? This could be off-putting for those like me who don’t use Facebook login.

    • Steven Walling says:

      Blue is actually not exclusively a Facebook color. Considering that the action logs users in, or throws an error if you try to enter your Facebook credentials (you can’t log in with email, obviously), users will get the message I think.

  14. bennylin says:

    I second OpenID

  15. Nicolas says:

    There should be a way of enabling registration using OAuth, OpenID, Facebook, Twitter etc.

    • Steven Walling says:

      OAuth and OpenID are actually being worked on separately by Operations. See: https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/OpenID

      As far as social login (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) we’re extremely unlikely to ever do this. We take privacy very seriously, and aren’t comfortable sharing data about who Wikipedia editors are with for-profit social networks, many of whom have rather dubious records when it comes to user privacy and data handling.

  16. S Page says:

    trazeris, the localizations from hard-working translators should roll in over the next several days. A placeholder for “Reason” is a good idea, note that field isn’t explained in the old form either. There are many things we could do to make the form clearer for the case of a logged-in user creating an account, but I wonder how often that happens.

  17. trazeris says:

    Good, these pages were in dire need of a redesign.
    The account creation form is only partly localized on the French version.
    Also the point of the Reason field is not clearly explained when we are already logged in. Maybe a placeholder text would do the trick.

  18. Steven Walling says:

    Tomasz,

    “Sucks” is not a constructive piece of feedback. It would help if you just focus on problems that can be acted on, like the whitespace issue. Other people have brought that up, so we’ll work it out. I believe there’s a relevant bug I’ll make sure you’re CC’d on if you’re not already.

  19. Tomasz says:

    I am afraid that the new login page sucks when compared to the current page; I don’t know why you decided to leave so much space to the right of the login form.

    I mean, I know—to be more mobile-friendly, but this definitely does not look nice on desktop.

  20. Tomasz says:

    Two questions off the top of my head:
    1) What will happen after the end of the testing period? Will this layout be introduced for good?
    2) Can we please introduce an &useOld parameter so that people who dislike the new design (like me) can use the old one? I’d hate to have to log in using the new layout.

    • Steven Walling says:

      Quick answers:

      1). Yes, when ready these will be the new defaults. This is dependent on no new critical bugs and complete localizations.

      2). No, we will not be providing opt outs. Maintaining multiple old versions of these forms is untenable for everyone in the long term.

      Best regards,

      Steven