Sam Brown

Respect your users, let them get up and get out

Making it as easy as possible for your users to sign up to your site or service is massively beneficial, allowing them to leave and close their account just as easily is equally as vital. This article outlines the steps involved in closing accounts on several apps and services that I went through recently.

Like many of you I am sure, I have accounts at services all over the place, many of them sitting dormant and while this is through no fault of the creators I feel it is important for me to get my data out and close my account if and when I feel the need. Making me jump through hoops, fill in forms, send emails or sign up for third party services just to close my account is not going to help you build goodwill and trust with potential new customers.

Brightkite – After hunting about the interface I stumbled upon the FAQs and an article instructing me to write an email to support@brightkite.com. I believe this can now be done on the Profile page.

Chi.mp – Again, had to email them and my request was placed in a queue, it was actioned the following day.

Dopplr – A simple link within the application, they sent a nice goodbye email and attached a copy of my data. Thumbs up.

Hello, my name is E – Filled in a form on their website which was emailed to their support team and have still yet to hear back 2 weeks later.

Readernaut – I had to create a GetSatisfaction account simply to ask the question in public and await a response, not happy! Infact, I am still awaiting a response 10 days later.

Pownce – A simple one question form on the site that once completed removed my account.

While I massively appreciate being able to try and test new apps such as Chi.mp and Readernaut as well as the other services mentioned, I dislike feeling trapped in their grasp and unable to perform such a simple task as to export my data and close my account. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth even though they all provide great services.

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Comments

Nathan Borror 20 November 2008, 09:00 #1

I apologize for what you want through to remove your account from Readernaut. I plan to formalize this process before we go public.

I guess as a product designer/developer the last thing you think about is “how does a user leave me.” It’s a very important and valid piece of the puzzle and I’m glad you’re talking about it :)

Spencer Fry 20 November 2008, 13:23 #2

We have a BIG RED CANCEL button to delete your account at Carbonmade. ;)

Andrew Hyde 21 November 2008, 06:52 #3

I always wonder how important this feature is (seems that most users that want out just don’t login). I’ve met enough people that like you, really appreciate a way to delete their account.

Tim Van Damme 2 December 2008, 23:52 #4

Have the same problem, I sign up to play around with a service, only to not find the “delete account” button…

I guess you don’t have to look for that button in Pownce anymore ;)

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Sam Brown co-founded Iterate, and was previously VP of Design at Foursquare. Based in NYC.

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