Help users to Create accounts

Help users create an account for your service.

When to use this pattern

Provide user accounts if your users will need to regularly access or update their data in your service.

When not to use this pattern

Do not create user accounts if you can provide a usable service without them.

This is because user accounts are:

  • a barrier for many users and make it more likely they will drop out
  • difficult to build and maintain

If you want to let users check the status of a one-off transaction, give them a unique reference number they can use along with their name or email address.

Unique references are hard to remember so you should send them in an email or text message to the user.

How it works

If a user needs an account as part of your service:

  • let them use as much of your service as possible before they need to create an account
  • use clear and consistent language
  • create a simple user journey
  • make the sign-up process clear

Use clear and consistent language

For consistency with other GOV.UK services, use the phrase ‘Create an account’ instead of ‘Register’, ‘Sign up’ or something else.

Use labels like ‘Create a username’ and ‘Create a password’ rather than ‘Username’ and ‘Password’. This helps users to understand that they’re not being asked to enter an existing username or password.

Create a simple user journey

Make it clear what you need users to do when they create an account.

Show a clear difference between creating an account and signing in. Presenting the options side by side is not enough because users might miss one of them or not understand the difference.

Make the sign-up process clear

If a user fails to create an account they might not be able to use your service at all.

Make sure the account creation screen is solely about that task. Do not add any distracting content or links.

Never use National Insurance numbers to verify a user’s identity

If you currently use National Insurance numbers to verify identity, find out how to protect your service against fraud.

Research on this pattern

If you’ve used this pattern, get in touch to share your user research findings.

Get in touch

If you’ve got a question, idea or suggestion share it in #govuk-design-system on cross-government Slack (open in app) or email the Design System team on govuk-design-system-support@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk

Discuss ‘Create accounts’ on GitHub