by anthony on 02/13/11 at 10:31 pm
If you’ve ever visited a beer and alcohol website, it’s likely you’ve met an age verification page. Age verification pages ask users for their birth date to make sure they are of legal age to enter their site. This way they aren’t directing their advertising to an underage audience. It’s safe to say that not all users will enter their correct birth dates. But at least, beer and alcohol websites are acting responsibly by asking.
If you’re a beer and alcohol website, acting responsibly is important. However, giving your users a good online experience when they enter your website is just as important. A lot of age restricted websites are losing visitors because their age verification page isn’t simple and friendly enough.
Lack of clarity
When users visit your website, they should know exactly why you’re asking them for their personal information. After all, is it their personal information and most people are sensitive with that. If you’re acting responsibly, and don’t want to advertise to an underage audience, then say that. Don’t leave them confused and guessing. Make it clear from the beginning why you need the user’s information. This way they’re more likely to give you the right information, instead of the wrong information because they understand the reason you need it.
Too many text fields
Many age verification pages use multiple text fields to ask for the user’s information. The problem with this approach is that you’re asking them to sacrifice their privacy and give you their full birth date. Additionally, you’re asking them to spend their time and energy to fill out each text field just to enter your site. Those requests together are enough to make any user pass on entering your website. The least you could do to make their experience more friendly is make it simple and easy for users to tell you how old they are.
Too many dropdown boxes
Another approach seen on age verification pages is the use of multiple dropdown boxes. Dropdown boxes aren’t that much better because when the menus open, too many options show up. This not only makes it harder for users to choose, but it takes them longer. Most users don’t want to go through all that time and effort just to enter a website. And they shouldn’t have to. A simpler approach will make it easier for users to enter your website.
Too many buttons
An age verification page with two buttons is one button too many. Although this approach is a lot easier to get through than the earlier ones, users still have to carefully click the right button. For some users, the right button is the one that lets them in the site, even if they’re underage. Asking them if they’re of the legal age is not an effective age verification because it makes it too easy for users to lie. It doesn’t hold users accountable enough.
One text field. One button. That’s it
A great way to make your age verification page more friendly is to include brief text that explains why you’re asking for their age. Then ask the simple question, “How old are you?” It’s a lot easier for users to tell you how old they are than to tell you the day, month and year they were born using multiple text fields and dropdown boxes.
Asking too much and forcing users to do too many tasks to enter your site will not only turn users away, but users are more likely to give you false information when you do. Most users are more open to giving out their age, than their full birth date. Giving out their full birth date is too personal and specific. Because of social media and social networking, it’s common for most users to give out their age, sex and location. Giving out their age at an age verification page is not something most users will oppose.
All users have to do is type their age in a text field and click a button to enter your site. This approach at age verification is simpler and friendlier because you’re only asking one easy question. Therefore, users only have to do one simple task to enter the site. This change will not only improve the user’s experience of your age verification page, but it’ll get those users who don’t like giving out personal information and spending time on forms to enter your site without thinking twice.