Do it for your users : Single Sign-On (SSO) / OpenID

I’m going off on this tangent because of what I saw at a website today, that has become all-too common (and all-too frustrating). Websites that handle multiple services will make you create a seperate username and password for each of them.

Want an account to do this? Create one.

Want to do something else here? Create an account on our other server.

Want to post on our forums? Create another account.

Want to manage everything in one place? Create an account at this completely different website.

Want to have an affiliate account? Create another account.

Come on folks, let’s focus a minute. The reason you need me to create all these different accounts is that you weren’t thinking user-friendly from the beginning. You started out with one thing and just kept adding different services on, without ever thinking single-sign-on.

For those of you that don’t know, Single Sign-On (or SSO) is a technology that allows you to have one account and multiple different services at a single website (or even a group of websites) all use a common login and a shared user database. You create a sign-on at one service, you use that same username and password for every service that they, and their partners, provide.

It’s user-friendly from the beginning.

When I’m adding content to my other site I try hard to make sure that I can integrate it in a manner that allows SSO. The only notable exception to this is the chat, but that can’t be helped as long as I use IRC (perhaps someday…).

I really think other websites should be promoting the use and adoption of SSO more heavily.

Now, there are some serious strides towards SSO adoption. A few prominent examples are the Sign on using your Facebook account and Sign On using OpenID.

I really urge more website developers to consider and adopt services that integrate some type of SSO sign-on into their site. Do it for your users. I know that I think twice before signing up if I know I’m going to have to juggle different IDs for the same site.

Consider some type of internal SSO, or consider OpenID.