Parents begin applications (registration forms) and do not always complete them in the first go-around. Sometimes, they save it and come back to complete later. Sometimes, they just get distracted by their favorite TV show and time-out, completing it once the show is done. We call any online process that has not been “submitted” (i.e. by hitting the submit button at the end) an “in-progress” application.

The question that we have often discussed here is whether to show that in-progress application to camp staff. In other words, should camp staff have access to the contact information of that individual, even though they have not submitted anything yet? In our early years of online registration, we concluded “no”, that camps should only have access to the info once the parent has submitted it. The argument takes this tone: well, the parent has not really committed to anything yet, they probably feel their process is “private” while they are just entering info.

Many years ago, we changed our opinion. As always, this comes about after many discussions with our customers and parents who actually complete the forms. Camps expressed a desire to see the information and parents expected that camps had access to it anyways. It was a pretty easy change of mind on our part: we chose to display in-progress applications to camp staff so that they could communicate with these folks…and they could analyse their ratio of those who started an application to those who actually completed it. It was an effective way to identify any issues or road blocks with the registration process and to answer any questions that parents might have. The positives to the camp were very clear in this regard. To address the concern that parents may not realize their information was available to camp staff as they were entering it, we made that clear in the terms of use and privacy policy.

We became such proponents of displaying the in-progress applications that we have an in-progress tab (in our new web-based app) for campers (registered for something or not) that displays details on their in-progress status – in other words, we built it right into the main flow of the system as opposed to some “side road” off the beaten track. This approach provides a very open and clear picture on registration – both those that are complete and those that are still stuck watching their favorite show!

As a little aside….I joke about watching TV shows but we have found that the most popular time to register for camp is in the later evening (presumably, after the kids are in bed and perhaps, the TV is on).

So, what do you think – good idea to show in-progess apps in a camp registration software….or is it revealing info parents would not want revealed yet?