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I clear my browser cookies each day, and log into StackOverflow with my oAuth quite a lot. Something that would be simpler is if we had Login change from something where it's on it's own page into somehing where a click will pop-up a div as in the style of the global inbox.

It might look something like this (only, less ugly):

enter image description here

Benefits are a faster experience (at the very least, I personally notice the delay between going from a normal page to the log in page), eyes move less (the new page makes me look a bit more). Drawbacks are obviously having to do a bit of work, perhaps a larger page to load (granted, I doubt this would add anything so intensive it jeopardizes the normal customer experience).

The experience works great for me on Trello, which is where I got the idea:

enter image description here

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I think the current login page is nifty... I hate it when websites have small windows that overlap the page. Reminds me of those "complete this survey and you are allowed to download this file..." – Gabe Mar 8 '12 at 14:43
@Gabe This seems to be a request where people are very split. If the login was still on the main page but not a "drop down" per se, would you still have an objection? – Incognito Mar 8 '12 at 15:54

2 Answers 2

The Login page is an entire page. It's too much information and creates a massive unwieldily drop-down. Stack Overflow provides a cookie for your convenience, if you are opting out of that I don't see why the site's UI should change to accomodate you.

This change would save zero clicks, and one full-page reload for a minimal page that (for me on my notoriously slow workplace internet connection) takes a fraction of a second. There is very little gain for introducing a network-wide UI change that most people won't notice.

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Are you serious?? All you need in the part that @Incognito shows in the OP. Nothing else... – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Mar 8 '12 at 14:29
I am always serious, and he's trimmed out the bit about OpenID and still has a monster drop-down that's too big for some devices to display. – meagar Mar 8 '12 at 14:30
@meage The OP is not talking about the mobile site. He is talking about the full site which all devices should eb able to view. – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Mar 8 '12 at 14:31
@amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA So am I, that's my point. If you make a massive drop-down that doesn't fit on my screen, on the main site which "all devices should be able to view", you're breaking the experience. – meagar Mar 8 '12 at 14:33
The OP is not suggesting any change to the mobile site... – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Mar 8 '12 at 14:33
@amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA Neither am I. You brought up the mobile site, not me. – meagar Mar 8 '12 at 14:34
The 29-word-long compedium of information about OpenID could probably fit into such a dialog that happens to be less than the size of the fixed-width 960px website when viewed by devices under 500px in width. – Incognito Mar 8 '12 at 14:35
Why are you viewing the main site on a mobile device. That is your own local issue. They have dropdown like that on facebook and google. Do you complain to them in the same way? If you view the mobile version of the site on a mobile device, you should have no issue at all. – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Mar 8 '12 at 14:35
For context, you already get a pretty big drop down when hovering over your username while logged in. Would this request be all that much bigger? – jadarnel27 Mar 8 '12 at 14:38
I could see perhaps pre-loading the current user authentication page into a pop-over, which would reduce the extra user wait time a full page request takes, but I think there is simply too much going on with that page to cram it into a drop-down. I think that the benefit gained from this is too small to spend much time on, especially with more pressing issues I'm sure the dev team is working on. – cdeszaq Mar 8 '12 at 14:55
@cdeszaq there is no real time involved... It should be a miniscule change (if they do it) – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Mar 8 '12 at 15:02
@amanaPlanaCAnalPAnaMA - Speaking from personal experience having had to do similar things for my own projects, there's no such thing as a miniscule change. Everything always takes longer than it looks on the surface. And when you count the time and effort needed to test the change and the added complexity, etc., it always takes a lot longer. Especially for something as mission-critical as the authentication system. – cdeszaq Mar 8 '12 at 15:07

Well this could be easily done with very little overhead on the SE side.

With some javascript and ajax magic the page could be put into that dialog.

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Loading the login page takes a fraction of a second. What is gained? Why introduce complexity (and AJAX "magic") during the login process, which (for the vast majority of users) happens very infrequently? – meagar Mar 8 '12 at 14:39
@meagar I am not saying anything is gained or lossed, just that it would be a minor thing to implement. – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Mar 8 '12 at 14:40
@meagar Lots is gained in a faction of a second, such as, end users like me are happier with the service, and customer-conversions improve. There's a wealth of research into what "fractions of seconds" cost on websites. The experience is simplified. – Incognito Mar 8 '12 at 14:42
It's not simplified at all. There is nothing simpler than page A linking to page B. That is how the Internet works, and every single user of a website is familiar with that process. When I click a "login" link, the default expectation is that I will see a login page. – meagar Mar 8 '12 at 14:45
As for saving a fraction of a second, by making this a drop-down you're introducing complexity in the form of additional JavaScript, markup and CSS for every unlogged-in page request for (as far as I can tell) not noticeable change. – meagar Mar 8 '12 at 14:46
@meagar not on all pages. See my example, and the OPs example. – amanaP lanaC A nalP A naM A Mar 8 '12 at 14:46
There's some history of stackapps being a proving ground for site features; if you implement this as a userscript and get it debugged, it'll probably stand a better chance of being introduced to the site. – sarnold Mar 9 '12 at 11:44

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