The more time someone spends online, the more privacy and security start to affect their browsing behavior. People are becoming increasingly concerned about where they share their personal information and who can access it.
With that in mind, the question of whether or not to use the Signup or Login Required option when leading an engagement becomes an important one.
The benefits of using required login
Requiring login means stakeholders need to create a Thoughtexchange account using their email and a password before they can participate. This option includes many benefits for participants.
The most obvious benefit is that signing in with a unique email address allows the software to recognize an individual participant. That means a person who has already participated and is returning to share or rate more thoughts from a new device can pick up right where they left off, rather than starting the process over. This person will not have to repeat any steps, like answering survey questions in the "Answer questions" section. The View results step will also contain some cool, personalized features like allowing them to see how the thoughts they previously entered are being rated by other participants. They can even see a breakdown of how their starring behavior compares to the rest of the group.
For accounts with the Contact Upload feature, these benefits can also be achieved by sending email invitations that contain unique participation links or code access, which, in that case, does not require participants to be logged into a ThoughtExchange account.
The drawbacks of requiring login
While these additional features are great and can really enhance the participants' experience, there are also trade-offs that go along with using required login.
First, required login creates an extra step for participants before they can start sharing thoughts or answering survey questions. Participants, especially those who have never seen a ThoughtExchange before, may also be wary of sharing their email address without knowing how it will be used.
The exception is when an engagement is built with the ‘confidential’ privacy setting enabled. When ‘confidential’, an engagement can connect individual participants’ identity with their participation- but only if you have a way of identifying each person. Requiring login to a ThoughtExchange account is one way. Using unique participation links or code access is the other way.
When to use required login
Now that you know the pros and cons, when does it make sense to require required login and when it is best to make it optional?
Requiring login is a good option if:
- You are reaching out to a small group of people you communicate with regularly. If you’re confident that the people you’re inviting will understand why you’re asking them to register and what the advantages are, that can be a great fit.
- Your community is familiar with ThoughtExchange. Once participants have seen the process and know that their personal information is not linked to the thoughts they share, they’ll be more comfortable logging in. When they learn how much easier participation gets after signing up, they might even wonder why they waited at all.
- You are running a confidential engagement. If you need a way to collect identifying information (such as each participant’s email address), requiring login is a good way to do this.
Avoid required login if:
- It’s your first engagement. It takes time to understand how new things work. And, while your team is getting used to being part of an engagement, having login as an option but not a requirement removes a step and gets them answering your question a little faster.
- You are engaging stakeholders with whom you’re working to build trust. If your participants aren’t used to being part of the decision-making process, it can be helpful to let them participate without sharing identifying information. This lets them learn how the process works and what you will do with the ideas they share.
- You are conducting a ThoughtExchange live in a meeting or town hall setting. Conducting a live ThoughtExchange can be a great way to set an agenda or guide a conversation with a large group of people. However, if your audience has just 10 minutes to participate at the beginning of a meeting, you want them to spend all of that time sharing and rating thoughts, not logging in.
Have questions about required login? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.