Navigating to a particular Service through a federated environment can be quite a complex and confusing process to an end-user or researcher; however, there are ways for Service Providers to improve the user experience of their Service for a more unified integration. The Research and Education Federations (REFEDs), a membership group of identity federations from around the world, undertook a project to support service providers implementing access management. Named the Discovery Project, it aimed to achieve the most effective way to present federated identity to users, with best practices and examples of how to provide the best experience.

Style and Usability Recommendations

The REFEDs Discovery Project has produced a Best Practice Guide for Service Providers implementing access management, available for use from the REFEDs website: This Guide is also available as an interactive demonstration via this link: This Guide explains how to implement federated login in a way which protects your brand, improves user satisfaction, and increases successful logins. 

The four best practices are displayed below, and available in more detail from the Best Practice Guide.

  • Create a single top right ‘login’ link
  • Decide how to manage local login
  • Install identity discovery software
  • Tailor the options for your users

Not only did the Discovery Project produce a list of best practices, they also produced several examples of practices to avoid:
  • Unusual login link locations
  • Technology terminology
  • Unordered listings
  • Large drop down lists
  • Missing co-branding

These bad practices are outlined in more detail on the REFEDS site.