OpenID user education [was: Those Pesky Slashes]

Kurt Raschke kurt at
Sat May 28 12:13:45 PDT 2005

> Making a new identity may be as simple as making a new
> folder, but it's not going to be easy to explain to them that their
> login of "joeuser32" is a website
> "" which is also their
> login ID and can be typed that way or as
> "" or
> "", etc..

> Most users aren't going to know it's a URL. For example, LiveJournal's 
> documentation will say "Type into the OpenID 
> Login box, where 'username' is your LiveJournal username". Users will 
> then go ahead and do that, blissfully unaware of what is going on 
> behind the scenes.

It seems clear that if OpenID is to succeed with non-technical users, 
then something will have to be done in the way of educating users about 
what an OpenID identity is and how to use it.  I think, for one thing, 
OpenID servers (also known as producers) should display only one 
canonical form for a user's OpenID identity URL.  As in the case of 
LiveJournal, other forms may exist, but clearly there are concerns that 
that would confuse users.  So, perhaps the best thing to do is tell 

This is your OpenID Identity URL, which you can use to log in on other 
OpenID-enabled sites:

It may then also help to have some type of "what is OpenID" 
documentation written up in non-technical language to help users 
understand how they can use their OpenID identity URL.  Perhaps even 
some kind of animated example?

Distributed authentication is, by its very nature, going to be complex. 
  I don't think the solution is to dumb it down, but rather to help 
users understand it.  Also, is there an OpenID logo under a liberal 
license?  A simple picture may help users..."where ever you see this 
logo, you can type in this address to log in".

Just a thought.


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