As OpenID continues to gain momentum, over the past few weeks both Google and Yahoo! have released the results of usability studies they’ve done around OpenID and digital identity systems in general. Google released their Usability Research on Federated Login looking at how to create user experiences that mainstream users can understand when using one account to login to other websites while Yahoo!’s OpenID Reasearch focused much more on how their own users are able (or not yet able) to understand what OpenID is and how they can use it. While at first glance this might seem troubling, instead it is actually one of the steps in the natural evolution of seeing a technology start to go from intriguing the early adopters to working on crossing the chasm to mainstream usage.
Yesterday at Yahoo!’s campus in California, nearly forty people from the OpenID community came together for a day to discuss the usability and user experience of OpenID and OAuth. Presentations were shared by Facebook about their experience developing Connect, MySpace explained how they’re combining OpenID and OAuth, Yahoo! around how they’re evolving their own OpenID Provider in response to their research, Magnolia shared how they’ve been using OpenID to help reduce spam, Google with their study on federated login user interfaces, and Plaxo wrapping up the day with how they’re looking at OpenID as a piece of a larger “open stack” for the Web. Lots of interesting presentations, analysis, and ways to move forward to help improve the usability of OpenID and OAuth came out of the day.
John McCrea has the play by play if you’re wanting to read more about what happened during the day, but I’m excited to see the sheer number of people and companies from various backgrounds (even those who compete with one another) collectively working to help improve OpenID and build a better Web.