On Bill Barnes’ new blog, entitled Card Carrying, Bill talks about some very interesting results from usability studies involving authenticating to a Metasystem RP with a hybrid login screen. This is what most information-card-enabled sites have now, a passive page that allows a user to either use an infocard or a username/password combination (and possibly other mechanisms too).
I would rather you go and read what Bill has to say, than to merely see a quote here – so go read it. Personally I think that the extra step of “embracing and extending” that Bill talks about is something that could be put in as an extra step in the username/password registration flow, rather than as part of the username/password authentication flow, just so that people don’t have to see it *every* time they login – but perhaps there is a more sophisticated way to set it up, such as asking each user once, and then setting a flag so that the user subsequently is not subjected to an extra prompt during authentication.
It’s a very interesting topic of debate, and I’d love to see some usability tests done on the changes made as a result of these usability tests.