Last week, the sign-in page for products that use Windows Live ID including Hotmail was changed. Now, there's a streamlined page focused on one account and one check box to "Keep me signed in", blogged Eric Doerr today at Inside Windows Live.
Why? "The previous sign-in experience was optimized for managing multiple accounts on a single PC. A tile was saved per account, and there was a "Remember me" and "Remember my password" check box. The "Remember me" box kept the tile around, and if you checked both boxes, this allowed you to sign in by clicking on the tile instead of retyping your password each time. This was convenient for shared PCs and for people who juggled lots of accounts," Doerr explained.
Considering the added new features to solve scenarios that previously required juggling multiple accounts, such as adding other email accounts and creating aliases, the team felt it was time to change the sign-in. Now the whole thing is focused one one account per device.
Per Doerr's post the following were some problems with the old design:
- "Customer confusion by the design. Not understanding which checkbox did what and as a result accidentally leaving account tiles at an internet cafe or a friend's house were common complaints. Depending on your settings, sometimes you were signed in but still had to click the tile, sign-out didn't always work as expected, sometimes you had to enter a password and sometimes not - it seemed random and confusing. To make matters worse, tiles only worked on Internet Explorer; other browsers always had the simpler experience.
- Changing trends in device ownership: As more people bought laptops and smartphones, we heard more feedback that the tiles just got in the way, and what people really wanted to do was to just get to the service without interruption. We knew from our telemetry that fewer than 2% of users were using the tiles, but 100% of our users were interrupted by them in the old design.
- Consolidation on a primary account: Increasingly, customers are consolidating their Windows Live usage into one primary account. It used to be common for one person to have multiple accounts. As we've integrated Live ID across other products like Xbox, Windows Phone, SkyDrive, and Office -the core account has become more valuable, and it's become less necessary to switch between accounts," Doerr noted.
In the blog post, Doerr tells us how we can best set up things in the new design. Going from resetting your password (if you forgot, or saved passwords in the tiles, or if you keep signed in all the time not having to re-type) to how to manage multiple accounts. He tells about adding email accounts and creating aliases but forgot one other solution: linked IDs, that way you sign in with one account and move to the next from the dropdown (your name). That is limited to just 4 IDs.
Doerr said that "We streamlined the sign-in page to prioritize one account per device, and simplified the two check boxes into one "keep me signed in" check box. Once you check "Keep me signed in" we'll keep you signed in with your Live ID until you explicitly sign out. This also has the nice benefit of giving you a much faster page load time, so that getting to your inbox or whatever service you are using is now much faster."
[Source: Inside Windows Live]