Last week over 40 open thinkers met at Yahoo for the OpenID/OAuth User Experience Summit. Representatives from major web companies and innovative players spent a day discussing how to improve what they all hope will be a single sign-on owned by everybody.
The over-arching goal, it seems, is to get OpenID ready for the masses. We’ve seen positive signs from the Yahoo usability study, but also learned that there’s a lot of user education needed to make it fit their mental model. Messina’s checklist is a good place to start.
Yahoo just released results of an OpenID usability study. Though there’s a silver lining, the news is mostly not good. Although we’re big fans of OpenID, it’s definitely not yet ready for mainstream adoption.
The study observed nine female Yahoo users in their thirties who considered themselves of medium-to-high internet savvy. The participants were told they could log in with their Yahoo ID at a third-party site. In many cases, the users tried to log in using the site’s main login, rather than the OpenID login. Users don’t understand multiple ways to log in, at least not without some education.
Unfortunately, the problems continue even when the user knows about OpenID. The module which lists popular providers, including Yahoo, confused users. There is no spot for a password, which seems strange to even advanced users (though this is becoming more popular with financial sites for security). Then comes Yahoo’s OpenID process, which is confusing for users that haven’t already added OpenID to their Yahoo account.
Sometimes it feels like the whole web is made of forms. Other than simple links, forms are the most common way to get information from the user. One of the recurring issues I have is deciding what to do with the form labels. That’s the phrase that tells users what you expect to go into an input field.