Which is better – sign in or allow?

Allow because that’s the only context in which it’s okay to not enter a password.  With Mozilla’s new identity program, you won’t have to remember a password for each specific site, Firefox will take care of that for you, but since it’s a new concept, we decided to put our research skills to work.

We observed and interviewed Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Firefox users and asked them to think out loud as they interacted with our four mockups.

Screen captures of several different amazon.com sign-in forms, showing multiple combinations of features and layouts“Imagine you didn’t have an Amazon account, but you wanted to buy a book on Amazon.  What would you do?”  And then we watched as they explained their thoughts.  Quite a few were afraid of signing into an account with just their email, because they felt that others could sign in on their behalf if they knew their email address.

The second option was unsettling because the password wasn’t editable and so it was pretty similar to the email only sign in.  The third option was liked because it was easy to use – just enter your email address here – but if you hadn’t been active on that site in a few hours, then another screen would appear that asked for your Firefox Account password.  Whereas the fourth option was easiest for people to understand that we were sharing your email with Amazon.

Based on all that feedback, we’re designing an interaction that will combine the feeling of security in option three and the easy to grasp concept of sharing your info with another website in option four.

We’re always looking for fun people to talk to about our new ideas and help us design a better open web.