Removing The Login Barrier

Dare Obasanjo's May 26th thoughts on the facebook platform contained a number of links to the Facebook API documentation. At the time, clicking through to any of the Facebook API links resulted in a login dialog:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at:

I happen to be making a website. We just so happen to have a current login barrier once you try to get into the meat of the website. I think that will have to change after reading this post. I’ll submit it to my boss.

I guess it all stems from the fact that users don’t have the time. The don’t have the time to watch your brilliant flash intro, read through amazing introduction, navigate through overly secure registration process and wait while your extravagant images load to their browsers. Most users are there by accident and have the attention span of a two year old.
So smart sites went from: “register to see”, “register for free” to “use existing demo account”. Nobody has the time to explore your site – you either put up or get closed (RC + D,L on my mouse gesture plugin :)).

I agree with you that registration barriers turn people away.

Recently, instead of forcing users to create an account specifically for my sites, I let them use their Facebook account through the Facebook API. It saves them time since they don’t have to enter in any info and and you can also use their info such as a profile picture, to make your site more friendly. Then I also don’t have to worry about security problems as well. And when the target audience is college students, most will already have a Facebook account.

When logins are in your face, there’s always !

Well, it would be wrong for Facebook to let you see a private note or message without confirming your login identity.

It is however silly to put a barrier on public “facebook-wide” documentation like the API docs or help pages.

I wonder if someday they will add a “public zone” so you can post notes that are accessible by URL without logging in. That would lead to some sort of dichotomy where your facebook account has a blog-like public facet a la myspace (but prettier).

The “New York Times” does not get away with the login barrier either. News is news and should be easily accessed or I will go to another site (which I do).

There even are sites which will hold your “personal” (still anonymous) data without having any account feature :
Favorites are hold on the server and the key to this is your session ID stored in your cookie…

Interesting site about distributed user identification (I have not read it already) :

You mean a little like blog that requires you install beta software just to read a blog entry because someone foolishly force a redirect to the install site if it isn’t already installed?

I know of a feel INTRANET sites that require users to log on!

very nicely done. and it’s cross platform :slight_smile:

I’d love to see search engines delist any sites that require logins to see non-paid content.

What are they after except the hope of catching email addresses to sell to spammers?

I think reddit would be a good example of a site that’s gone to efforts to eliminate the login barrier. First time you try to do something that requires a login, it pops up a box asking for a username and password. And that’s it, after that you have an account, and you’re logged in.

I responded to this on my blog

Although I am extremely turned off by many sites that require logins to see what appears to be ‘trivial’ information I would not use API documentation as a way to degrade them on how ‘brilliant’ they are. How about this concept? Why would I want some random guy looking at my API documentation when he has never used my service? In fact I wouldn’t even want you integrating with my application because you don’t even understand its uses and my audience.

I hate logins as much as the next guy when I want to ‘try’ a service, but looking at API documentation is not intent to ‘try’ a service. If you plan on integrating with a system why don’t you learn something about the platform first, and since Facebook is a rather robust social networking platform it would make sense …

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A while ago I was looking to buy a health supplement from a website that I cannot recall the name of.

In order to see the price of the item I was interested in the website required you to register … I kid you not.

I was utterly amazed at this and emailed the webmaster of the site - basically saying that I thought this was ridiculous… their reply was that several thousand customers a week would disagree with me … but then I wonder how much business they were losing to this particular form of login-barrier.

Whenever I see a login page to download a file, I search the file name on Google so I can get it from somewhere else. I got so used to it that I barely noticed how bad login requests really are.

Rafajafar, nice, I came back here just to mention the project.

Indeed, the Facebook executed the technical side of the platform launch very well, but the support side has a lot of facepalm moments.

If it’s any consolation the documentation you get once you’re in doesn’t really clarify “Just what is the Facebook platform and FBML?” I was in on the beta and it took me like two weeks just to figure that out. Haha.

I wrote up what I know so far:

Hopefully that helps someone.

@Ryan D
I totally agree with you. Facebook has been successful, I feel, embecause/em of the requirement to create a profile to interact with any aspect of the site. Once you’ve got a profile, your friends find you and it’s all over, you’re officially hooked on Facebook.

A perfect example is that was in the tech press this past week. They ask a lot of info up front and don’t tell you how it will be used or displayed.