Subject Re: publisher interface study
From Nicole Harris <n.harris@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date Mon, 21 Sep 2009 09:27:21 +0100

Hi Josh

Couldn't agree more - the 'name bit' is a small part of the battle.  This needs to be combined with a lot of other work that is going on - such as the work Rod is doing on the WAYF etc. etc. and detailed guidelines on how publishers should implement both the 'eduID' name to replace the plethora of 'institutional login', 'shibboleth', 'federation' that is out there at the moment, and to improve the general user flow.  We are hoping to appoint some professional UI people to look at these guidelines.

I think the problem that any 'academic' login might work in some places and might not in others is always going to be a problem because at the end of the day it depends on whether your institution both has a subscription to that service and uses federated access.  Again, this is all going to be part of sensible fail messages etc. etc.

I don't necessarily think that common brand, or at the very least 'recognisable name' as I'm not sure we are sophisticated enough to be a brand (!) without common infrastructure is a problem.  OpenID is in exactly the same position as a service with a common brand but distributed architecture.  I think we have one up on them in terms of scale of use by SPs at the moment though :-)

Hope that helps

Josh Howlett wrote:
Hi Nicole,

We are nearing the end the of the consultation period for the 
publisher interface study and as yet have had no dissenting 

First I should say that this is, in principle, a fine idea.

However - and perhaps I have misunderstood this proposal - I'm curious
whether a common branding is a Good Idea in the absence of a common

If it is not possible for a typical SP to obtain an assertion from a
typical IdP (say, because they had no federation in common), then this
might end up disappointing users. You can imagine a user getting
confused when the 'eduID' button works for some SPs, but not others.

I see that a smart embedded WAYF could help, particularly for those SPs
that only care about certain IdPs.

In summary, I certainly support the idea and think we should start
working on the branding ASAP; I'm just saying that I don't think this is
enough to solve the general case. Perhaps that's been implied, but I
haven't seen it said explicitly.


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