Unforgettable (Usability): The SquidWho Login Experience

As part of some recent consulting work, I spent some time looking at the new people-search engine from Squidoo called SquidWho (it is not Squidoo I was consulting for). SquidWho is an interesting service that may or may not be worth using (in most cases I think not) but there are a lot of things the team is doing very, very well. It’s worth checking out the site’s user experience and use-flow; it’s all quite well put together.

The one thing I haven’t been able to get out of my head in the weeks that have passed since I tried the service out is how easy it was to get started with SquidWho. It’s simple, really – and I was kind of kidding about using the word unforgettable in the title of this post, but I really do keep thinking about it. It’s more like it’s unnoticeable for once!

Easy login is important because there are so many web applications launching every day that yours should be as pleasing to use as possible at every step or you’ll loose out on the use and advocacy of early adopters – at the very least.

Here’s how it works. After you create an account on SquidWho, to edit a page on the site for example, you are able to start making your edits immediately – before you click on the confirmation link sent to you by email. You are not able to save your edits until that confirmation link is clicked, but that’s ok. Once you switch over to your email tab or client and click on that link, SquidWho is loaded and you’re already logged in.

This might not sound remarkable unless you consider the far more typical scenario. Too often when you discover a new web application the following is true:

  • You can’t do much of anything until you create an account.
  • Once you create that account, you cannot proceed in using the application at all until you click on the confirmation link sent to your email.
  • That email doesn’t always show up right away, sometimes you have to wait for several minutes or longer until you can use the app.
  • Once you get the link, you click on it, the app is loaded, you’re told you’re confirmed and then sometimes you have to click on yet another link before you’re even prompted to login!

Compare all of that hullabaloo with the SquidWho flow: sign up, keep using it, then click confirmation link just before saving and SHA-POW! you’re logged in. Pure joy. Note that Squidoo proper doesn’t seem to work like this and isn’t perfect otherwise, but I like this part of the program a lot.

Want an even more seamless login experience? Try some OpenID well executed, perhaps with a little APML mixed in. The future will be smooth and painless – or at least logging into it will be!