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When you log in to a Stack Exchange site for the first time, you get a very confusing page (see below). The most prominent UI feature is collection of flair from all the linked accounts. My first thought is "OK, I'm signed in, this is just to let me choose which account to copy my profile from." But it's not--at the bottom of the page is the button I must click to actually create a profile. What is the point of this intermediate step? I already know that I have an account on the other sites, and if I didn't it wouldn't really matter would it? Is the point that it warns you that if you don't want to have your account associated you need to use a different OpenID? Is this really a concern for users?

It seems like this could be simplified. Move the create new account button higher in the page, or just list the sites but don't show the whole flair, or something. I find this very confusing.

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The page has a couple points

  1. We don't know this OpenID. Did you screw up and enter the wrong one?

  2. Did you want to associate this OpenID with an existing account? If so, you've screwed up because you are not logged in to the existing account.

  3. Although we don't know you here, we know who you are in the network and we'll copy your profile over for you.

edit: we now limit this page to "top 3" by rep.

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Is it really necessary to show all accounts on the network? Showing just the top 3 would make the page a lot cleaner. – Jon Seigel Jul 30 '10 at 2:26
@jon that's a good diea, I'll try that. But also realize that users with umpteen skadillion accounts are pretty rare. – Jeff Atwood Jul 30 '10 at 2:58
"We don't know this OpenID. Did you screw up and enter the wrong one?" Obviously you know it's not the wrong one. What are the odds that I would enter the wrong open id that just happens to have the same password as one that is used in other SO-network sites? – Kip Jul 30 '10 at 2:59
Thinking more about your response here, I think I see the disconnect. From your perspective, the user is here because their login failed but you realize that they have used the same login on other sites. But I don't think that's how anyone except the site designer views this page. The user most likely knows that they don't have an account when they get to this screen. Maybe separate "Sign up" and "Log in" links would work? That's how most sites handle this (and I can imagine new users being confused about how they sign up when all they see is a "log in" link). – Kip Jul 30 '10 at 3:06
@Kip - You can have many OpenIDs. If you have more than one, you may accidentally log in with the wrong one. – Peter Ajtai Jul 30 '10 at 3:18

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