Monday, November 17, 2008

Naval gazing

Chris Messina posts the results of a more comprehensive survey of OpenID 'awareness'.

One key distinction between OpenID and SAML is that the SAML community doesn't spend its time on this particular type of naval gazing (concentrating on others) - there has never been any expectation that the end users would be at all aware of whether SAML was being used or not.  It's freeing to not have to care. (I expect we'd have picked a better name if we thought the users might be aware, and a cool icon.)

OpenID definitely started out with a conscious design for a brand with users, and so measuring awareness of that brand made sense. But it seems to me that the current trend for UI (at least with big OPs) is to downplay OpenID itself, and concentrate on helping the user with the more basic task of distinguishing between the choices of a local or non-local identity.

Look at the recent guidelines from Google and Yahoo! for federated login - neither mention OpenID in their initial UI. Google segues into federated login through a generic 'Help me login', and Yahoo! replaces the OpenID brand with its own.

Are surveys of OpenID awareness asking the right question?

Is federated identity made easier, or more difficult, when the user is expected to be aware of not only where a non-local identifier is, but also what sort it is?

That would be interesting research.


Pat Patterson said...

Paul, naval gazing would be watching ships; navel gazing would be self-contemplation :-P

Your favourite pedant, Pat :-)

Paul Madsen said...

Pat, I think you are being naive if you ignore the relevance of federated identity to marine commerce

I stand by my 'a'.