January 01, 2009

AU Online Abandons Single Sign-in

Less than four months after launching the "single sign-in" for all Autodesk Websites, the recent relaunch of the AU Online site has resulted in that part of the Autodesk web presence abandoning the single sign-in.

I used the feedback link on the AU Online site to question why the single sign-in had been abandoned. After the first reply indicated that the single sign-in was still valid for AU Online, I provided a more detailed description of what that meant (one sign-in for all sites/once signed in at one, moving to any other does not require signing in again), I was told that the single sign-in was removed due to a large amount of attendee feedback against it.

While I suppose I should applaud Autodesk for listening to the users, I have to question who would be against this? I would emphasize that there is a difference between being against the way it was implemented and being against the concept in general.

Yes, I was annoyed by the way it was implemented and by the spotty initial performance, complicated by rolling out a new format for the web-based Discussion Groups at the same time. Yes, I miss my old five-character password, now bloated to eight characters with at least one upper case letter and one numeral, because each additional character geometrically increases the probability that I will mistype the password. But with the single sign-in system, at least I could sign in once and visit the Discussion Groups, AU Online and the Subscription site. Now, I still have the eight-character password AND I have to sign in separately at AU Online.

So the question remains - who would want to sign in multiple times? Disconnecting the AU Online site from the single sign-in did not resolve any of the initial problems I had with the implementation - were there any other, ongoing issues? If anyone had a problem with the whole concept, what prevented them from simply signing out when leaving one site, then sign back in on the next?

I have to think that the real issue here was one of either not having time or not wanting to expend the effort to integrate the new AU Online site with the single sign-in, rather than responding to meaningful user feedback.


Anonymous said...

I thought I'd got through the signin migration unscathed, but found out recently I was wrong.

For two accounts (Me and Me @ work) I now have 3 signins but two link to the same account, in some places, not in others...

That combined with the slowness and unreliability of signin is frustrating.

Unknown said...

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Anonymous said...

I whole heartedly agree! A single sign-in is best but the implementation was not exactly smooth on the AU registration sight. Thanks for sharing your opinion. I didn't know until now why my sign in wasn't working on the AU sight!