I'm looking for the name of a specific name of a UX convention.

Many games, to allow for multiplayer games without logging in, let you share a unique URL that when another person visits, will create a privately shared game. I have seen this many times in other applications where not creating an account and private sharing are key.

Does this have a name? If not, I think it should as it an extremely useful solution to an interesting problem for users looking to balance privacy (in terms of not needing to create another account), speed (dead simple to setup), and security (they know exactly who is on the receiving end).

Here are a few examples:

Cubeslam multiplayer sharing link

Above: Cubeslam. Below: lichess.

lichess multiplayer sharing link

  • I don't think that it's perceived as an actual pattern in its own right. It's usually just called Direct/Unique/Short URL. Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 6:18
  • 1
    This is a good question! The pattern has somewhat common usage, but I genuinely do not think it has a name as of this time. Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 13:24
  • It is more than just a direct or short URL because of the way it is being used. It is a short URL being used for a specific effect. I'm hoping that there is some name for the way that it is being used.
    – benortiz
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 4:26

3 Answers 3


In Office 365/SharePoint Online, it's categorized as External Sharing with the name anonymous guest link. This anonymous guest link lets any user with the URL view an item inside an authenticated and authorization required SharePoint environment.

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I think this name is valid in a gaming context as well, since it doesn't specify the requested item. Until something better comes along, I'd use the anonymous guest link.

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    "Guest" is a term mostly used in otherwise authenticated environments, to indicate people with (severely) limited access. What the poster seems after - if I read it correctly - is a term for the link when neither party has to be authenticated and both have the same level of access? Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 11:32
  • @MarjanVenema True! Guest link would be an alternative, and maybe also a one-time-valid hash-link you see in sign-up e-mail confirmation could also be appropriate. A guest-link often works more than one time, which could be confusing if the game is already started... Commented Jun 9, 2014 at 12:15
  • @BennySkogberg I think you are very close to the idea there, but like MarjanVenema and you noted, it has the wrong implications. It's on the tip of our tongues, I can feel it.
    – benortiz
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 4:28

The wording that strikes me as most-close is

Private Invitation

It is a good term because it expresses the discretion that the user should take when sharing the link.

It is not a great term because does not express the "no account needed" aspect of the pattern.

@BennySkogberg's answer about MS Office's "anonymous guests" is a great reference, though IMO classically demonstrates how MS builds power features but falls down on findability / UX

  • Yeah that's a good one. Private is a good word. What about Public-private invitation? That gets at the no account needed aspect. It's kinda clunky and confusing though.
    – benortiz
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 4:38
  • I agree it is oxymoronic, even in-context. Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 13:19
  • Agreed. I found another example at ge.tt. They just call it sharing. Maybe it's best to not over engineer this? However, I think it'd be nice to have a term when communicating with peers so that this sort of interaction can be standardized.
    – benortiz
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 18:57

I've seen this on the doodle website. It allows a user to send out unique links to a planning calendar, and when you use this link it knows your name (as entered by the person who set up the calendar), and only lets you edit information originally entered via that link. They are authenticating you relative to the other user, i.e. We don't know either of you but we know that you know each other, and that's good enough. Relying on the unguessability of the url to keep third parties out is called security through obscurity.

  • That's a great example! But I'm interested in the connection part of this convention, not the security pattern.
    – benortiz
    Commented Jun 10, 2014 at 4:30

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