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At the last few Internet Identity Workshops there have been discussions about building a “cloud based” identity selector. The idea has been to mix the user experience advantages of Information Cards, the popularity of consumer identity providers, and still support large numbers of identity providers as InCommon has done. The end result is a user experience that is being called an “Account Chooser.”
A charter for a new account chooser working group was submitted Aug 29th, 2011 for review by the specs council. We plan to discuss it in more detail at the upcoming September 12/13 OpenID Summit hosted by Microsoft in Mountain View, CA.
The end goal of this account chooser technique is to make the sign-in process as simple as a user clicking their picture from a list of accounts they frequently use on a website.
For example, Bonnie is on her mobile phone and wants to login to a website. She is shown a list of accounts including her personal account, her work account, and an entry for her husband who sometimes borrows her phone. She simply clicks the account she wants to use.
If she had a new phone, or computer, she would need to add those accounts to the device, so she would see a screen like the one below where she could click her identity provider if it was listed. If not, she can simply type her email address. If there is a known identity provider for that email address, she will be redirected to it, otherwise she will be asked for her password on this site.
In preparation for the upcoming OpenID Summit we have started to build the accountchooser.com website with an overview of this user experience, as well as an initial implementor’s guide. A new mailing list will be created by this working group for further discussion once the spec council gives their approval.
There are a few websites where you can currently experiment with an account chooser: