Publisher Interface Study

In March 2009, JISC and JISC Collections commissioned a study to look at the issues surrounding the user experience when using federated access management.  The federated access approach has been successfully adopted in many different countries throughout the world, but this success has brought with it usability issues known as 'the discovery problem'.  Any user approaching a Service Provider without following a directed link needs to be able to tell the Service Provider both which access management federation / country they are from, and which organisation they are affiliated too.  Despite some excellent Service Provider developments to help address this issue,  the overall approach has lead to many different variations in approach and a confusing experience for users.

The final report from Cardiff University has now been delivered to JISC and reviewed by the  REFEDs committee and is set out on this wiki for community consultation.  In response to the recommendations from the report, JISC intends to:

  1. Carry out a full public consultation on the findings of the report;
  2. Instigate an international competition for the design of a federated log-in brand;
  3. Develop full brand guidelines for Service Providers;
  4. Develop an easy-install tool and guide for embedded WAYFs (Where are You From Services).

Your opinion is very much valued and as such we invite you to read through the report. Following comments received, the report will be finalised. Please feel free to submit your ideas by using the comment function on these pages or by emailing

The report is the work of Rhys Smith (, Information Services, Cardiff University with support from staff at Cardiff University and Kidderminster College. 

We look forward to hearing from you
Nicole Harris
Services Manager, JISC Executive