Integrating existing user accounts
How will we support integration with existing user accounts?
Integrating with existing user accounts poses an interesting challenge to both consumer and enterprise app creators. It’s a challenge that’s surprisingly often overlooked, and one that can have a seriously detrimental effect on the uptake of your app if you don’t play it smart.
No more login screens!
I don’t think I’d be striking out on my own by saying it gets really, really tiresome having to fill out your details over and over. Yes, I know I want an account. And yes, I also know that giving you my details is the price I pay for it. But there has to be an easier way…
Well yeah, this is 2017 – of course there’s a way.
So what’s the fix?
In the consumer space, it’s a problem that’s mostly been solved by social login, with companies lining up to offer this solution – the big players are Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft and Google.
From a user’s perspective, it’s obvious that the biggest draw to these is that I can sign up at the press of a single button, authenticate it with one of the platforms on offer, gain access to a new account and, with Facebook, I can control how much of my details I want to share. Awesome.
If you’re making an app, this just means your rates of account creation will go up, and you don’t have to worry about securely storing those passwords as that’ll be taken care of by the company providing the social login.
They’ll also have risk reduction strategies in place, including one-way encryption for the passwords, meaning that if it was stolen, they’ll be useless to a hacker.
And as a nice bonus, you can also acquire a lot of information about the user if they’re willing to give you access to it.
What about business apps?
Single sign on is nothing new to businesses. Anyone working in a medium or large company will be pretty familiar with only having one username and password to access a number of systems.
So when you start making a business app, it’s vital that you consider how to integrate with these systems.
If you’re planning an app independent of your IT department, at some point you’ll undoubtedly be forced to prove that your app won’t put other systems at risk. One of the key requirements here will be conformance to password policies set out by the department. The best way to minimise the trouble you’ll cause? Just use the systems already in place.
You want a quick uptake, and you want it now
Nowadays, it seems like we’re all… well… divas. We expect more from technology, but we want it all as quickly as possible with as little effort as possible.
Put simply, you’ll find the uptake of your app is so much faster among your employees and customers if you use the single sign on. If you’re making an app for your business, go for a beer or a coffee with your IT manager and make his acquaintance. Find out if there is an existing web service (which is fairly easy to integrate) or a directory service (now it gets a little trickier) you need to take into consideration.
You might be able to save yourself some budget for more features and avoid that awkward conversation with IT when it turns out you’ve duplicated another system…
The ideal you want to reach
One last note – on both iOS and Android, it’s possible to share logins between a suite of apps.
This small feature can become invaluable if you’re thinking about making a portfolio of apps.
The ideal you want to reach for is having a user log into an existing account on one app and have simultaneously logged into all of your related apps. Don’t make people work for it.
It’ll keep people happy and actually get them using your apps a lot quicker.
And hey, they’ll actually be using your apps for the reason they downloaded them instead of staring at the 9376th login screen of the day…