Have any of you seens examples of alternative account creation with the traditional email + password combination? I've heard of just entering an email, but I'm curious how that impacts the flow or how those accounts are managed.
There are numerous options to login using Twitter or Facebook authentication that are probably reasoable to use. I tend to use a fake twitter account when I use these, but I suspect that they would enable most of audiences to gain access fairly readily.
The problem with required account creation is--and I suspect you know this--many people just won't bother. My convenient and fake twitter account already exists, so I might use it but the hassle of creating a whole new fake me is a lot for a single site.
This, of course, assumes that your need for validation isn't legal and/or required to be verifiable back to an indivual (inasmuch as that's possible where fake email addresses don't even cost a dime a dozen...they're free.)
If the point is paricipation, offering third party login services are a good way to go.
A good example for just entering the email would be 500px.com...but make sure you have none of their cookies on your first visit.
An interesting twist on "alternative account creation" is found on the website of German online electronics retailer, Reichelt:
When you order from them, you are not required to create an account (although that is one of the options). Instead, you enter your contact details and payment information as required for processing your order.
In the shipping notification email that you receive, they note that for future orders, you can "sign in" to the site by entering your customer number — which they create automatically and include in said email —, your name, and your zip code.
In other words, the account creation is transparently integrated in their check-out process.
I'm working on a web app at the moment where we expect the standard user to be on the site for about an hour every couple of weeks. I decided to try something out. I added the option to "send me a login link" upfront on the login page. The user enters their email address (or via a cookie) and hits the button. They instanly get a mail with a link. Clicking it loads the app with a live session.
Effectively it replicates standard "forgot my password" functionality but makes this a primary login route. It seemed appropriate for a site with infrequent usage, where passwords will be forgotten all the time anyway. We'll see how it works out.
Thanks guys! I've used 3rd party login in the past. Since the service I'm working on can switch between web and mobile, 3rd party sign-on may create more work for the user. (They may start on the website and then switch to the phone. To maintain their session, they'd have to go through the full OAuth process 2x.)
What I think we're going to try is using email address only, such that their first experience is quick and requires as little key input as possible. With a limited session time for security. Then, on 2nd login, we will prompt them to set a password. Essentially, a version of "reset password" where the password is not initially known. The good thing, is that if it doesn't work, moving to a more traditional flow uses the same logic.
Sorry about the repeating—for some reason the site was really slow to post, so I clicked too many times >_<