It was recently called to my attention that a certain Fortune 500 company – remaining nameless for our purposes – decided that in addition to its high-end technology products and services, its site visitors would be interested in their corporate-branded apparel and accessories. Shirts, hats, golf balls, keychain laser pointers. All the good stuff, to be sure.

I understand the logic at work here – you spend money producing all this junk, why not try to recoup a little? At worst maybe you create a small army of walking billboards. So I get how your login UX process can be guided (or misguided) by what all too often passes for marketing.

What makes no sense whatsoever, though, is the fact that in order to see anything – let alone buy anything – visitors are required to create an account by filling out a registration form containing over 40 questions.

That’s 40 questions. As in 39 more than most users will ever be willing to answer.

Let’s peek into the mind of a prospective user, upon landing here:

To let your company advertise to me, for the privilege of parting with my hard-earned cash on third-rate products I will never use – and probably never wear because your ugly, aging logo plastered all over them (sorry, digression) – I have to give you a volume of personal information that likely qualifies as an identity thief’s wet dream? I have to tell them my job role twice. I am asked what language I speak 3 times – in English.

If, after all of this insanity, I can find my way back to the store, I get the privilege of viewing a wide range of useless tchotchkes featuring the company’s logo! Wow! How lucky can one man be???

Look, as a customer, I just want to buy something – and a process like this pretty much assures that isn’t gonna happen.

From a business perspective, I can certainly understand, and in fact often advocate – within reason – the benefits of gathering customer data via account/login creation. You know who’s visiting, how often and what they do while there. You can store info they may need later, enhancing their experience with the site, i.e. order history, billing info, etc. And of course, you can make them special offers only extended to “premier” customers. I get it. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

However, you will never realize any of the above benefits if your login process is a giant pain in the ass.