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I am a developer working on my first UI. My application requires the user to log into multiple accounts (this is a trading application). The user needs to enter their username/password for each account and connect to their respective API's.

Obviously they can save their username/password so they don't need to enter it every time they start the application. In this situation my app could also automatically log in based on the saved credentials.

My thoughts on this are: although this would make things 'easy', i.e the user doesn't need to do anything to connect to the API, personally I would like to manually click the 'Connect' button and see my connected icon flash up green. This would make me feel pretty good, it would give me a purpose as a user. The positive reaction from a simple action I took would please me and make me feel smart.

I suppose a real world example, for me at least, would be a car that turns on automatically once I sit down and close the door. I don't want that. I have a close relationship with my car. It makes me feel like I am in full control and connected to the car when I turn the key or press the start button.

Does this concept exist in UX. If so what is it called?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Well, since you're new to UX, you should probably learn one thing first and that is that

IT DEPENDS

:)

If it's something I'm going to use a lot and you can automate it for me: yes please. I might feel smart the first time I set up a wi-fi connection, and it might make me feel in control of what my computer does for me, but it's going to be a major pain in the ass the tenth time.

Also, with the car, while I think you make a good point again it depends. For a certain audience the automation you describe makes them feel good about owning and driving that car. Pride of ownership. For another audience having the active engagement with the machine and really partaking in the driving experience that a stick shift brings is what it's all about. So, yeah, sometimes making something super easy takes away from the user experience.

So, you might be right, but you've got to be sure you're right. Therefore either:

  • know your user and what they would like

or

  • design for yourself

Note that the last method only works if you're actually a big user of your own product. You can't design for yourself if you're only going to use the product while testing. You need to be the most active and engaged user of the product to be able to design something that will work for others as well.

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I do UX for an investment firm and work on trading and other financial apps. I understand the scenario you are in.

I'll address this specific issue and hopefully I can offer some insight into the deeper concept you are working at.

What you are looking for is a SSO (Single Sign On) solution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_sign-on

So important, it has it's own acronym. It's a critical component of the financial industry from a security and usability perspective. Consider the trader as user. They need to execute a trade NOW for 30....300... 3000 accounts. Not in 3 minutes, not in 30 seconds...now. They will not use your app if they have to log into more than one system. It won't solve their business need. It won't be too easy, it will be too hard to use.

SSO is not an interface solution but a complex IT procedure involving all aspects of IT. And entirely necessary, Not "too easy"... more like impossible to live without.

Is there too easy?

UX design strives to maximize the ability of people to achieve their goals when using software.

"Maximized ability" is not the same as "too easy". Too easy is when you have over-designed the software (in the spirit of maximization) and it ends up making decisions for people, applying wrong assumptions and otherwise getting in the way of users achieving their goals. Your car example is a valid example of this; single sign on is not. In fact, that is an example of "the best interface being none at all".

That being said, look carefully into that. With a trading app there are legal, privacy, security and a host of other issues involved. I suspect a lot of back end integration as well.

Welcome to the forum.

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