I am working on a desktop app that requires authentication. It allows federated authentication using different services, Google among them. Most probably, we'll use a pop up with a browser window to allow the user to authenticate.

Showing a small modal popup centered on the main app window seems like an elegant solution. However, the Google login page is rather big, certainly bigger than our own window. I see two options, but I don't like neither:

  • Making the app window bigger to allow showing the pop up inside it. Is this a good idea?
  • Just show a pop up in a different window, hiding the main window behind it. This is even worse for me, as it would enforce this design for the other providers for the sake of consistency.

Any other options?

  • Are you sure you are using Google's OAuth system correctly? Most of the times a small simple form shows. Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 11:25
  • I'm using Azure ACS. This is the page shown: accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?hl=es&continue=http://…
    – rgargente
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 11:32
  • yes, I just checked with the oauth authentication here in stackexchange and the same thing happens. What they do is redirect to the google login page and then back. Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 12:00

2 Answers 2


You could provide an initial smaller popup window with scrollbars and an option to expand it to full screen by clicking an icon. I am not sure if this is consistent with design practice, but might suit your needs without overly inconveniencing either the user or the other providers.

  • Yes, but the login controls on the google page are on the right side, making the window expansion mandatory. That would add one more click necessary. THanks!
    – rgargente
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 11:17
  • Location of login controls may not be a constraint. As the page loads, control is given to the first input box bringing it into view in the window - however small it may be. I suppose this is what you had meant.
    – Kris
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 11:23
  • Well, we can try that.
    – rgargente
    Commented Dec 14, 2011 at 11:33

I'd go for some 'Connection wizard' that pops-up over the main application or even replacing the main application. The user can then use the wizard to log into whatever services they want. When they're done you'll simply close the 'Connection wizard' and reshow you're application.

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