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I find the log in page very confusing and frustrating. Why do we need an array of log in options?

I wanted to log in to SO on my new Mac, but for the life of me could not find an appropriate log in control, before I realised I must click the 'stack exchange option'.

When I signed up, I did so with a work email address and was never aware or at least had forgotten that what I got was a stack exchange account.

All I was looking for was email or user name and password entry fields, and I believe that's all you need. Based on that you should be able to deduce what account type the user has, or provide a drop down box of options.

Far less confusing, requires less screens, and thus is slightly less of a burden on your servers.

mockup

Wouldn't this be better?

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Stack Exchange uses OpenID to authentic users. The options are to select your OpenID provider. –  ChrisF Jun 21 '12 at 11:20
    
I understand that, and its not the issue. The issue is why do we need these options. If the login of Facebook, Yahoo and Gmail is only possible by linking to some external gateway page, at least have input fields for the stack exchange, with the alternate options underneath. –  Andrew S Jun 21 '12 at 11:27
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I think major part of the registered users use those "external gateway" as they already have OpenID provider and see no need to create yet another one. So showing all available providers is the proper way, Stack Exchange is yet another one for those who don't have any other, or don't want to use it. –  Shadow Wizard Jun 21 '12 at 12:03
    
I can't understand why many are voting this down, its a suggestion for the good of and potentially betterment of SO. –  Andrew S Jun 21 '12 at 12:30
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@AndrewS Well, because not everyone agrees that your suggestion is "for the good of and potentially betterment of SO."... –  Yannis Jun 21 '12 at 12:33
    
Anything that encourages the current "per site" login situation to continue to be the default is a bad thing. –  Flexo Jun 21 '12 at 14:24

2 Answers 2

So OK, when you signed up, there was this on screen, over on the right:

sidebar from sign-up-with-stackexchange screen

but as you say, that was in the past and can easily be forgotten. Fair enough.

But then you say you got to the login screen, weren't sure what to do, and didn't see

login page with recover highlighted

that button? It's quite big?

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It was the click here to recover link that informed me my SO log in credentials was a stack exchange account, but only once I'd gone though the process and was choosing a new password. –  Andrew S Jun 21 '12 at 12:13

It's not a user-friendly login page. Of course there should be login boxes or at least a clearly visible default alternative. Being the first link in the list is not such an alternative. Not all users knows what the "Stack Exchange" option means either, it's not absolutely obvious that it's the same as Stack Overflow. I know I wouldn't click that the first thing I did if I found

I think the solution is to either have a help box on the right (more specific than the general link to openid.net) or textboxes under the "More options" link.

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