I have often lamented that despite Microsoft investing millions into CardSpace, consumer acceptance and hence market uptake remains elusive.
Shadowing our CTO in the Information Card Foundation board meetings I do of course get some rare insights into what troubles the minds of some of the business managers of major Relying Parties (RP) like PayPal and eBay. To put it bluntly, they feel that CardSpace as an Identity Selector is too clunky. They are worried about conversion rates. This means once a user has landed on a web page and needs to logon to transact; they want to lower the bar as much possible. That means a maximum of two clicks and the user should be on his/her merry way ordering stuff.
So here is the consumer single Sign-On experience that seems to be winning the battle for the hearts of web service providers by default. A pact with the devil is made whereby for an undisclosed fee the consumer facing web page displays a number of ‘quick and dirty’ alternative ways to logon without creating ‘yet another user profile’ on ‘yet another web site’ silo of personal data.
Ok so you may gather from choice of words I am not a big fan of this solution either. While I understand why the Telegraph marketing manager would love to drive more users to his/her new site drawing on the popularity of social networking sites like FaceBook or LinkedIn, I do not think the user is making an informed choice here. The user is not aware what personal data he/she is consenting to share from his/her profile now being mis-used as an authentication short cut.
So Finally here is a glimpse of the future, courtesy of my friends at Avoco Secure, that hits all the right spots for me, though as a prototype it undoubtedly can be smoothed at the edges to give an even more slicker appearance.
In the screen scrape below you will see that clicking on the information Card logo a pop-up window is opened by the browser in an instant. Using browser technology means that this can be implemented on any platform. I have even seen cool iPhone Identity Selectors. More about them in an other blog post coming soon.