Making Drupal OpenID More User Friendly

openid_selector.pngOpenID has been hailed as a fantastic distributed authentication mechanism but has failed to gain mass attraction. While the concept is great the user interface, when you go to log into a site, is typically confusing to mass consumers. This confusing style of user interface is the style Drupal uses. A recently released module is a start to helping fix that.

What Do Users Expect?

A majority of mass consumers, when they go to log onto a site, expect a username and password field. Over many years this has become the standard and its almost everywhere. With OpenID you do something different. Instead of a username and password you enter something like a URL. While this change seems simple enough it ends up being confusing for enough mass consumers that it is not worth implementing in non-tech circles.

What SourceForge and StackOverflow Use

The first time I logged onto I was amazed at the interface. It was OpenID but the user interface was straight forward. If I wanted to log on with Google, Yahoo, or one of the other major OpenID providers it was just a button click away. I didn't need to know the URL. I just needed to click on the logo, enter my username and password as usual, and I was logged in. It was the first time I felt OpenID could be used for mass consumers.

The OpenID Selector module was recently released for Drupal. This module provides the same style interface for Drupal sites implementing OpenID. This module is a good first step in making OpenID through Drupal more usable and viable for mass market Drupal sites.