I just spent 30 minutes buying plane tickets on a well-known travel website. Selecting the right tickets took less than 2 minutes. Logging in and making the actual purchase took the other 28. This included, among other things, trying the 43 different possible username/password combinations I might have used, trying to retrieve my password via email, getting frustrated and giving up and creating a new account, getting irritated at the restrictions on what I can make my username (which is, I presume, the reason I forgot what username I used the first time), finally creating an account with a username I’m almost guaranteed to forget by the next time, and which is now unlinked from my existing travel history, and FINALLY buying a ticket.
(And that doesn’t count the 5 minutes spent writing this rant!)
And, really, the only reason I was even able to create a new account at all is that I have multiple email addresses. Folks with only one email address would simply have been told, no, you can’t do that, there’s already an account associated with that email address. Continue with the guessing game. Neener neener.
Why can’t there be a decent authentication architecture that doesn’t take lengthy how-to’s to explain how to use them? And Sam’s is one of the best howto’s out there on this topic, and it’s STILL way too complicated for normal people to use. My mom is one of the most tech-savvy people I know, of her generation, and I”m reasonably certain that she would be confused by the end of the second paragraph. I can follow the article through, but I’m just not sure I can be bothered – it’s way too complicated, and it’s not widely enough supported to be worth the effort.
Yes, I know that this is a difficult problem. Quite frankly, I don’t care. There are really smart people in the world, and the first time I heard a talk about this problem at a tech conference was more than 5 years ago. Surely SOMEONE can solve this problem?!
It’s simply absurd that 15 years into this WWW thing I still have to create a new account EVERY time I want to buy a plane ticket, simply because there’s absolutely no way I’m going to remember the 12 accounts I’ve already created.