There are two types of online editors for photoproducts: those you can’t access without signing in/logging in, and those where you can start the project as a guest and continue working.
Registration or logging in before starting the project has its advantages and disadvantages, same as designing as a guest. I will try to weigh all the pros and cons of this issue and its relation to ‘user experience’.
The idea is that you can’t buy a photobook or any other photoproduct without registering. Custom products differ from other products that are “ready to sell”. The specificity does not allow you to place orders without creating an account. The question is, at what stage should you set up an account?
1. Logging in before the user begins to design, in the store.
There are a few advantages to this solution. There are already “weeded out” users at this stage, especially those who come to the store just to browse the offer and see how the online editor works. Registering immediately brings the thought to continue and the final purchase. But there is another side of this issue; if those users could try to design their projects without a need for creating an account or logging in then perhaps they would engage and be more likely to create an account and order their projects.
Another positive aspect of signing into the store right away is that we can gather data from the beginning. I mean both the personal data (like e-mail address) but also all resources, such as a photo library or started projects. As a guest, your customer will be able to upload photos and create projects online. However, he/she will not be able to place an order until he/she creates an account. If your customer signs out of the website without creating an account, the photos he/she has uploaded and projects he/she has created will be deleted and not be able to be recovered.
2. Designing without a need to create an account or log in
Despite all the above-mentioned advantages of creating an account before entering an editor, everyone with whom I have spoken would prefer to start the process without any constraints at the beginning, as a guest.
Some users do not like the feeling of being ‘monitored’ from the beginning. During a guest visit people design photoproducts with the idea that they are not ‘captured’ by the shop authentication procedure, as they do not want to become a ‘known customer’ yet. By allowing access to the editor while not being logged in, we are giving user a chance to test the application. The commitment is built with the creation of the project. This approach is much more “user-friendly”.
Technologically, allowing users to design a project anonymously is a more complex solution. The process must predict enforcing the need to log in at different stages:
• when ordering,
• while project saving,
• when trying to upload photos from other projects.
The editor should be flexible enough to skip from anonymous to logged-in user in one session, without reloading. All of the data should also be combined, meaning the projects of the anonymous and logged-in user.
Another important feature is creating an account only once, in the editor and in the shop. It would be a huge user-experience mistake to divide this process. As you can see, there is a lot more to consider in this solution but the complexity brings a lot of value.
To sum up, there are as many advantages as disadvantages. When searching for the perfect solution for your business, you should decide what is more important for you.
Advantages of designing as a guest:
- User- friendly – smooth way from the e-commerce store to the editor
- Faster to start – designing in a few clicks
- More engaging from the beginning
- Less irritating – no need to fill the forms at the beginning
- A more technologically sophisticated solution
Advantages of designing as a registered user:
- Safe – track and auto-save changes in the project
- Useful – archives pictures to be used in other projects
- Possibility to order a project in one step
Simplifying the registration process could be an acceptable solution. A good example is signing in with social accounts, like Facebook integration. The issue with logging in with social networking accounts is that it also has a multitude of people that are unconvinced and unwilling.
To tell you the truth, I personally prefer to test before I sign in. Many of our customers tell us the same thing, and that it is the undoubted advantage of our editor.