New Approaches to Sign-Ins

Hannah Kim
Jul 13, 2016 · 3 min read

Last week, I decided to take the Daily UI challenge.
I like it because it allows me to exercise my UI design skills everyday. Albeit, there is little briefing and information provided, it is still a great way to think about a UI component and imagine what the best case scenario would be. Sky’s the limit!

The first challenge was to design a sign up form. I was excited about this one because I know there has been a lot of discussion on this topic in the UX community and there are some cool new technologies emerging in this area.

From a marketing perspective, I can certainly understand the need to have sign-up forms as a way of tracking and increasing conversions.

However, from a user’s perspective, nobody likes to sign-up. It’s such a hassle. Luke Wroblewski even suggests we get rid of sign-up forms all together and focus more on engaging solutions. And I don’t disagree. Passwords are so annoying. How many times do we click on the Forgot password link? It’s so cumbersome and time consuming to change the passwords again and again.

While I don’t reckon sign-up forms aren’t going away any time soon, I am happy to see new and innovative log on solutions.

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Magic!
Slack introduced a new way to login using a “Magic Link” which sends you an email with a link to open the application. Slack has a web, desktop and mobile app and it is especially convenient to login using this magic link on a mobile device as you don’t have to type out a long password on a mobile keyboard. Passwordless login systems like this is super convenient for end users. All you need is your username, phone number and email which is way easier than remembering a password. Here’s how you can implement a Slack-like login on iOS.

Fingerprint

TouchID is the perfect way to sign-in to apps and devices. All you need is your fingerprint! There’s also some startups who are gaining traction in this field. Kodekey, for example, is a mobile app and Web service combination developed by Puerto Rican startup Qondado LLC. Kodekey provides an easy-to-use Web service that registers user accounts with their associated phone numbers and PIN.

Face/eye

Imagine being able to unlock your phone by just looking at it. With Samsung’s Note 7, now you can! It’s called the iris scanner and this new feature uses an infrared camera that scans our eyes.

Windows 10 also has a new feature called Hello where it recognizes the user with facial recognition or eye tracking sensors. This method is not only faster but also more secure.

Heartbeat

Nymi is a convenient authentication via a heatwave-sensing wristband. Unlike other biotech authentication methods like fingerprint scanning and facial recognition, the system doesn’t require the user to authenticate every time they want to unlock something. It’s a continuous, on-body authentication. What’s cool about this is that it’s not just for web or mobile. You can unlock your car, office doors, etc.

USB / Accessories
Everykey also has a wristband to unlock passwords, doors, cars, etc. Everykey uses bluetooth so once the device is within range, user can sign in.
Another startup called Yubico also uses USB keys for authentication. Physical devices are a great alternative to passwords as they are never stored on servers and you don’t have to wear them all the time.


Bottom Line

It’s safe to say that passwords aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. But it’s great to see new technologies are making waves to allow for a more convenient and secure way to sign in. I hope that we as in the UX/UI community, move forward in this direction.

Here’s to a future where the machines work around us–not the other way around ;)

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