I noticed the that many site only offer two social login options:

Grooveshark: Google, Twitter

Quora: Facebook, Twitter

Digg:: Facebook, Twitter

How does this improve the user experience?

  • 1
    Ugh, social logins. I've come to despise them, mostly because I've actually seen sites without an in-house login system: they only accept OpenID or, worse, Google or even Facebook logins.
    – Tortoise
    Nov 5, 2012 at 1:34
  • @Tortoise What's the problem with Google and Facebook logins? It's better than filling a long form that even asks for your cat's name.
    – wyc
    Nov 5, 2012 at 1:43
  • 1
    I don't have an inherent problem with their existence. I don't use them, because I'm a traditionalist who favors distinction between things, but I can see why people would like to. My problem is with sites that offer ONLY Google and (especially) Facebook logins, failing to account for the possibility that there's still someone left out there who hasn't turned over their entire life to one of these monopolistic corporations.
    – Tortoise
    Nov 5, 2012 at 1:45
  • 1
    @Tortoise So you prefer Twitter login?
    – wyc
    Nov 5, 2012 at 1:48
  • Oh my God... you've become one of them...
    – Tortoise
    Nov 5, 2012 at 1:49

4 Answers 4


At Stack Exchange, we have so many login options, that we made the decision to only show some of them initially and then hide the rest behind the more options link.

Too many options just confuses users who don't understand what open ID is or how they could log into one website with another one.

We chose our options to cover the vast majority of use cases, and here's the data we used. This is sign-ups:

enter image description here


I thought you were wrong on this question with only two social network login - so I made my own very small test and found the following:

Stackexchange at least 4 social login options

Stackexchange login

Screenr 4 social login options

Screenr login

But Pintrest, Hopflow and Slideshare all uses 2 social login options:

Pintrest login

Hopflow login

Slideshare login


The reason for only using two different social login options are most likely a combination of the likelyhood of a user not having one of two different social login and developer effort. If you have Facebook login as one (and most of the mentioned does) you're probably safe. There are a number of user who doesn't use Facebook, but for a reason. If you don't have Facebook - you're unlikely to have any other social network, and these users would have to login to the site using regular username/password anyway. More isn't always "more".

The second reason is probably implementation that can be very hard, without any real benefit since most users probably have one of the two options. There is also always the posibility to login using the sites own security system. It's always better to implement two login options well, than five bad.

  • 2
    Uh what's with this If you don't have Facebook - you're unlikely to have any other social network attitude? Facebook suffers from serious privacy issues, recording a lot more info about me than I like. I am certainly not going to use it to sign in to other sites and provide facebook with the knowledge that I am interested in that site. That I don't want to use my facebook account for sign in doesn't mean I don't have one. That I don't have/want to use my facebook account for sign in, doesn't mean I have no others. Nov 3, 2012 at 14:10
  • I agree. But the reason Facebook is targeted in the debate is because it's biggest and that Mark Z appears to be a jerk. Anything you post online should be considered with great care. Nov 3, 2012 at 14:17
  • 3
    You are right, but, it is not just about what you post online. Facebook - and Twitter for that matter - are actively abusing my loggedin-ness. Whenever I am logged in and visit a site that happens to carry their "like" buttons, they log that I visited that site, regardless of whether I clicked any of those buttons or not. It is none of their business that I visited that site. Especially not when I don't even click on one of their bl... buttons. And even when I do click their button, they don't need to attribute that click to me in order to be of use to the site the button is on. Nov 3, 2012 at 15:50
  • @MarjanVenema: Amen. I use Google+ and Twitter, but not Facebook. I don't plan on using Facebook, but not for privacy reasons. Why not, then? What does it matter?
    – Tortoise
    Nov 5, 2012 at 1:36

Giving users too many choices is often a bad thing. They're easily overwhelmed and it doesn't take much for them to leave and go to a competitor's site. Also, if you're offered too many options to sign in, you may forget which one you used and have trouble logging in when you revisit the site.

It probably varies from site to site, but I imagine that many companies have done split testing on their users and found that offering only two social logins works best.

  • 1
    This is sometimes called choice paralysis and comes from the fact that having too many choices increases cognitive load—the user has to process all the options and decide which of them is best. The more options there are, the longer it takes and the more painful it is.
    – Tin Man
    Dec 15, 2017 at 23:01

Asking how to "improve the user experience" is a fairly nebulous question that encompasses a number of separate elements.

  1. What third-party sites to offer as log in / sign up options (based on demographics and personas).
  2. How to phrase your copywriting to improve conversions (usually includes A/B testing, too).
  3. Visual design and layout of the forms themselves.
  4. Consideration of stakeholder / business needs as to the cost/benefit of even offering social sign in.
  • Hi @WillPhillips. Welcome to the UX Stack Exchange! The OP assumes that the login options improve the UX and asks how does that login structure improve UX?...but you answer with implementation details (i.e. how can the creator improve the login structure). Perhaps you could edit your post to clarify how each of the four aspects you list will result in improvements to the user's experience? Apr 24, 2013 at 19:27

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