Style Notes for Infocard RP Developers

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.

3 thoughts on “Style Notes for Infocard RP Developers

  1. The Embrace & Extend step needs to follow a login, otherwise those with existing account will never get the prompt to upgrade. But once you have, you’re never asked again. And for those who decline to drink the kool-ade there’s a “Don’t ask me again” button.

    And perhaps I wasn’t clear – we ran two sets of tests. The results I shared were from the more successful second test.

  2. Perhaps it would depend on the site?. If it is long-running site with many users already established, your way makes more sense. If it is a blogger just starting out, it might make more sense to put that step into registration, since there are no pre-existing users.

    Or are you saying that you tried integrating it into the registration step (ie the aforementioned less-successful test) and it bombed horribly?

  3. Pam,

    We actually did implement the website so that the user could sign up with a card as well. Our initial focus wasn’t on the “new user” experience, but with the much more common scenario, “I’ve already got an account”.

    Where someone was asked to create a new account, on a site that they had never been before, they often *did* lead with the card, to facilitate sign up–which is good news, as that gives the user the ‘one-click-signup’ ability, and lowers dropoff.

    The flow for an entire website must include of course, all avenues of account creation and association of an information card. (Bill and I are documenting that all… eventually :D ). What we were trying to do was to optimize the heck out of the most common avenues.


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