Does the perfect login form exist? I guess the most straight answer is ‘No’, but as a ‘good’ designer I’d like to say ‘it depends’ since every solutions has its pros and cons.
The way the user get access to a website or an app is made by entering his credentials, typically the username or email and the password created during the registering process. Both, login and register are unintuitive but familiar tasks for a user, who just want to be recognised by the system uniquely.
I mean familiar because this process is widely extended as an standard, but I still believe is unintuitive because the user requires to learn the machine language where registering is in most cases just the first time login.
If we still see the login form as a form, I mean, as a set of fields to be filled out and a submit button, then the possibilities of designing something different are short. Although there are some innovative systems to identify a user like the face unlock of Android for example.
Going back to forms, I still wonder why something as important as our personal devices such as the phone, the tablet or even the credit card only requires us to enter a pin code. Why do we think we should be asking for anything else in a website then?
Some people may argue that the new single sign-on pattern which allows a user to be granted by one of his already existing accounts in a different website facilitates the process of logging in.
Is it really the case? Let’s think in the best case. Registering is made by one click, as well as logging in. Then, the user is redirected twice until s/he sees the logged-in landing page. However, in the worst case scenario, the user has to enter again the credentials for another platform.
Another inconvenient I see of this ‘quick’ access method is the need of making users understand what the third-party icon means in this context: registering, logging, sharing content, and visting the social website profile.
I know that the label, the design and the position helps to create the context, but then I find another dilema: do I want my users see at the same level a third party branding on my most critical page ‘the register form”?
There are different tricks to make it look appealing enough, but I always find a lot of contradictions like the requirement of seducing users for what I think is the easiest way to register oppositely to my own registering form – isn’t it good enough?
More questions: Is a third party login better than ours?
In theory, what we want is to save user’s time and yet another password to remember. The problem is now the number of third party websites valid for a user and how to chose between them.
The time simply goes by understanding and making decisions.
Besides, in case the user doesn’t have another account or s/he doesn’t trust on that party we should still provide a login mechanism, don’t we? Now we can think again: how would be our own system to allow users register and login?
We all have an email account.
If your smartphone is smart enough and you have one you can try the face recognition, using a smartcard, or something like that. However you will likely think about providing a typical form to ask for user credentials. The minimum data to ask would be the email account in order to have a way of communicating with users and the password to guarantee a secure access. Any other field important for you as a designer should be there for a good reason.
I don’t know what should be your perfect login form for your website, but I start thinking that the problem as a user is not the amount of accounts I have spread the Internet, but the problems I have to face to delete them. That will be a topic for a new post.