You are familiar with the ubiquitous registration forms that litter the Web. Most web applications have sign-up pages where you divulge some type of personal information before agreeing to some Terms of Service (ToS) and Privacy Policies.
The user experience on a typical online registration form requires some special handling. Traditionally, hyperlinks open in the same browser window in which you are browsing. This works great, except where the user has just filled out a form.
If these links open in the same window, the user must use the browser’s back button to return to the form. Unfortunately, this doesn’t guarantee that the form will keep all the original inputs.
I just ran across this problem on Technorati’s sign up page. Their ToS link took me to a new page. When I hit back to return to the form, my inputs were gone!
On registration pages, open the ToS and Privacy links in a popup or a new window. This will ensure the user’s inputs are preserved and that they don’t have to re-enter data.
37signal’s Backpack application has a sign up form that opens the links in a new window. Perfect!