One of the primary goals of REFEDS is to remove the barriers to use that users, identity providers and service providers experience when interacting with identity federations. When speaking to end users in particular, the lack of a consistent experience for login has been highlighted as the main barrier to the take-up and use of federated identity again and again. The problem has been discussed many times, and I highlighted some of the problems in my plenary session at TNC2012. What hasn’t been clear is the best way of tackling this problem and providing the most effective solution that works for all the parties involved.
In October 2011 NISO published the findings of its ESPRESSO study, designed to look at this very problem. One of the most important driving factors for the ESPRESSO study was that it was led by service providers themselves who had become aware of the problems faced by users when logging in. The report is comprehensive, and goes in to a lot of detail about best practice and standards in this area. REFEDS is very supportive of this work, and wanted to find a way to promote the findings out to the community in the best way possible.
The result is the REFEDS Discovery Guide, designed to explain in simple steps why it is important for Service Providers to think about the login experience and how they can go about making it better for their users. Crucially, it recognises the many different people within a Service Provider organisation that need to be involved in getting the experience right – from web designers, to managers, to techincal staff to sales staff. The guide was published in March, and is now ready for use and promotion within our community.
Right now, we are asking for help from as many people as possible to get this information to Service Providers and highlight its importance. If we can get as many customers of the SPs to highlight this as an important priority area, we can hope to see change happen within the near future.
If you would like more information about the Discovery Guide or would like to discuss how you can get involved with promoting or implementing its findings, please do get in touch with us.