What makes for a useful user account?
As users on Avvo are navigating the site beyond PDP's and funnel conversion and returning to the site, I started tackling the idea of user accounts, and what is necessary in order to be useful. In many situations, pretty much every site with post-login content requires one, yet we don't give them much attention. This can result in a hit on retention for the business with our most valued visitors.
What is a user account?
A representation of a user in the system
Literally connecting a user to a set of permissions
A well-designed system for setting up a user account means having a user experience as elegant and simple as possible
Fitting a user's mental model will increase member retention and keep customers happy
What isn't a user account
A profile. Users are logging into user accounts looking for information specific to themselves
Information connected to a user account also isn't session specific. Cookies should be used to save info when possible.
What This Tells Us
Since a user account is not focused on session-specific information, we should provide the following static, user-specific content:
Personal info/Contact info
Links to members-only content areas
Content users have uploaded to the site
Make it useful
Provide access to a user's account globally
Dedicate a link to the account
Content submissions - reviews, comments, pictures