Kudos to Half Price Books for Guest Account Creation after Checkout

I’ve studied a lot of in-depth research on e-commerce and one of the more disruptive user experiences is requiring customers to create accounts before allowing them to give you money.

Of the top 100 sites evaluated by the Baymard Institute in a 2012 study, 76% allowed guest checkout.

graph: 35% of companies grossing over $1 billion and 21% of the rest require an account to make an online purchase
Graphs: 76% don’t require an account to purchase, courtesy Baymard Institute

But only one of these companies (ranked #1 of 100) allowed a guest user to create an account after checkout. The checkout process should be linear, so asking a customer to create an account at the end of the purchasing process makes sense and is a better user experience.

It’s difficult to find examples of sites doing this since it requires making a purchase, but I did come across one finally: Half Price Books, a Texas-based used books chain.

Screenshot: HPB.com page allowing a customer to create an account after checking out

Good job! Now just remove the password confirmation field 🙂

Changing User Names

This is a call for developers and system designers to allow user names to change while maintaining the user’s account integrity. There are many instances where someone’s name might change, but issues seems to disproportionately affect women.

At my work, when a woman gets married, her system login gets updated with her new last name. However, not all internal systems are capable of accepting an updated user name. This causes the user to have a new account, and thus no access to her old data.

This seem abundantly silly, easy to plan for, and necessary so as to be inclusive to anyone undergoing a name change whether due to marriage, divorce, or other personal reason.

The Twitter model is representative of how this should work. Users can at any time change their user names or email addresses instead of having to create a new account or go through some process of trying to combine accounts. Developers and designers, take note!

Screen shot of the Fishy UX Twitter account settings page
Twitter account settings screen