Letting users register and log in is a common pattern that you’ll have to support for most apps and services. So the question is how to make it as fluid as possible.
Let’s see why do we sign up for services? Ideally it is because if gives us more value, not because the maker of those services wants to know our email address and how to reach us. Also, ideally we already know what value we’ll be gaining by singing up and we are ready to share our email address or twitter handle.
So it gets back to trust and expectation. What does the user expect will happen after they signed up and does he trust us?
What is the problem
Signing up to anything takes time and adds friction. At a minimum you have to think about which email address to use and set a password, but you also might have to fill in your birthday or share information about yourself. Social login can simplify things a lot by providing a simple way of identifying yourself and pre-populating profile data.
When you come across this pattern a couple of times and see a social login button you know what to expect, however people who see it for first time might need some explanation. What does it mean, do I want to give access to my Facebook account? Will they be able to log in with it? – So simply reassuring users about what will happen after they authorize the login will definitely clear things up.
Make it recognizable
Using the logos in the registration or login buttons helps people realize which services they can use. The blue “Sign in with Facebook” button and the logo is always recognizable.
Don’t provide too many options. There are a number of services that you can use for logging in, ranging from Google to LinkedIn and Github, however you need to figure out what works best for your audience. Most of the popular social networks and services have API’s that can be used. Be mindful about what you choose. Does your audience mostly consist of developers, consider Github instead of Facebook. Don’t overload it, three options seem to work best.
In some cases you can go exclusive, but most of the times it is good to provide the alternative of traditional signup and login with email or phone number.
Ultimately the question to ask is how does the external service fit in with your customer? Let’s say you are building an analytics tool for Twitter, which means that 100% of your users will have an account. Go for it with just Twitter.
The social login can be an enhancement of your existing flow. You can keep the email or username password combination and provide shortcuts with social login. While most people have social accounts, that doesn’t mean they are happy to share them in a work-related environment. They would more likely sign up with their business email. You can always emphasize one or the other.
With social login you can kill two birds with one stone. We have to do some gymnastics in the background, but from the user’s perspective it’s the same flow. Click on a button, authorize (if not done before) and you are logged in. This could handle both the account creation and login process. If the user doesn’t exist, you’ll create it, if it exist, you’ll log them in.
Signups can be tricky. First and foremost ask for it at the right time and depending on the use-case provide alternatives to traditional registration and login models.
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