Once upon a time we used usernames and passwords to sign into websites. Unless you used multiple email addresses, your password was the single piece of information you had to remember. With password services like LastPass and 1Password, you didn’t have to remember anything.
But then sites started offering social login via Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Amazon, Github, Yahoo, Instagram and a whole host of other authentication options. Oops, you have accounts on all of those services. You can’t remember which one you used to sign up. Maybe you guess wrong and end up with two separate accounts that you can’t figure out how to merge. Ever been there? You’re not alone.
I dug into some real data from a company I worked with that offers multiple login options. For each 1,000 legitimate login attempts, there were 531 successful logins and 112 password resets. In other words, people were having a far harder time signing in than I would have imagined. If you run your own site, I recommend you look at your own data. My guess is you’ll be as surprised as I was at how few login attempts are successful.
If your site offers multiple login options, there’s an easy way you can remove this pain and increase your site usage. Set a cookie that remembers which authentication method was used to create their account along with any services that have been linked. Then use that data to highlight the options that can actually be used to sign in and hide everything else.