Microsoft research conducted a web-user study in 2007, finding that users had about 25 different accounts – all requiring passwords. Seven years later, it is easy to see how that number may have doubled.
With so many web accounts, the average user struggles with remembering a strong password for all of their web accounts, making them reluctant to add more. Web application developers need users to sign up for their services and make new accounts. How can developers streamline the sign-in process and make it more enticing for users? Social login.
Social login, also known as social sign-in, provides users with one single login using an account they already have – their social network account. By using their Facebook, Twitter or Google+ account, users do not generate a new password or create a new account on a third-party website. Instead, they just use their social network login information.
When implemented properly, social login affords numerous benefits to users and web application developers.
Users can sign up to web sites and applications faster than ever before. Now the process only requires users to click a few buttons, not fill out forms.
Users also do not need a laundry-list of easily-hacked passwords they cannot remember. By using a single login, the users do not create another account. The social network login consolidates their accounts and makes one login for multiple apps and web sites.
Web developers also benefit. Developers can verify that a user is a real person, instead of a computer. Developers also can auto-populate a user’s profile with information from the user’s social network allowing the developers to present a more personal experience.
Many users are hesitant about the amount of personal information available on the web. Users may not use third-party sites or applications due to a sign-in requirement. Social network sites already have personal information – and the users trust those sites. Social login may transfer a user’s trust from the social network site to the third-party simply because of the login arrangement.
Only properly implemented social logins see the benefits. Developers must stay up-to-date on social network trends and allow logins with the most popular network sites – currently Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Developers also must provide the social login feature as an option, not a requirement. If users are more comfortable setting up an account directly with your site or application, allow them. Remember, the goal is to ensure user sign-in.
Web developers must plan for change. A social network has the right to restrict or block access to their user base. Developers must continue to engage with the social networks to build trust and strengthen the business relationship. However, they must also plan in the event that the business relationship with a social networking site is broken.
With the right implementation, social login reduces barriers to sign-up, increasing web accounts and providing a more personalized experience to the user.
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