I have an idea to simplify the login screen on things like home computers with a small number of users (say, 2-10) with passwords.
Today, a typical home computer's login screen has three steps:
- Select a user. In the 2-10 user case, this is often done with a set of icons you can click.
- Type the password.
- Click OK or hit Enter.
What if we eliminate the first step? Then the login window could start with the cursor in the password entry field, ready for any user to type their password and hit Enter. Once that's done, that one password would be checked against all registered users on the machine (remember, there are only 2-10 to check), and if any matches, the login succeeds. If none matches, the process either starts over, or reverts to an "old style" screen where the user can click their icon if they forgot their password (just as today).
I'm hoping for an answer in one of two categories:
- A substantial example where this has been tried (whether successful or not).
- A substantial reason why this would be a bad idea.
I'll note that my proposal does make some assumptions:
- 2-10 users. This is pretty much the same assumption as current icon-driven login screens have, I think. This new way might scale a little better, say up to 20-30 users, whereas that many icons on the screen would be confusing.
- Unique passwords. This may even be an advantage: the system would enforce password uniqueness to let the scheme work, but if two users had the same exact password before, chances are it wasn't a good one.
- Every user has a password. If not, perhaps the old-style icons could be displayed with reduced prominence along with the password prompt--that'd be OK with me.