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by Martin Belam
The design pattern of 'sign in with Facebook' or 'use your Twitter account' to register and use other services socially on the web has become more established over the last year, but integrating this into a website can be a tricky user experience to get right. It also poses specific challenges to the Information Architect.
This presentation uses real examples of documentation produced during a six month project attempting to solve this problem for a large media company. It illustrates some approaches that worked, some approaches that didn't, and will focus on three key areas.
How do you document task flows when so much of the user experience is in the control of a third party? The matrix of possible user journeys is immense, especially when you factor in complications like merging existing accounts with social network details, or the user forgetting password details somewhere along the process. Add to this the fact that terms and conditions under which data can be transferred and persisted seem to be in a state of flux, and you have potential for some very confusing diagrams.
2. Future-proofing your service
People have argued that services like Facebook can become a single sign-on point for the web, and that we needn't build our own registration flows again. As an IA, how can you inform the business to make the right choices to ensure any service built is future-proofed against changes in the "social registration" landscape.
Defining the "social registration" process also raises ethical issues. Given the major debate about the privacy issues around Facebook profiles and data transfer, how do you determine and validate the right level of privacy warnings to keep you users informed of how much of their data is being processed, without deterring them from using a service.
24th–25th September 2010