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Single Sign-on: What we Learned During our Identity Alpha

– U.K. Government Digital Service

An update on the UK’s development of a single sign-on identity solution to work for everyone

In this article, the author provides an update on their early findings from user research. Inclusion is at the heart of the new system, following several blind spots in the previous system, GOV.UK Verify.

“Identity checking can’t be a one-size-fits-all journey (there’s no magic document) but we don’t want to create a confusing maze of possibilities. One of our main discoveries from usability testing was that a task list-based design pattern works well as a simple, flexible, and extensible way of assembling user journeys from different types of checks to fit different demographics.”

The research team has tracked user journeys to securing identity, and has found three dimensions that identity checking can vary across. These are: the strength of the identity check, the document provided by the users, and the channel this is conducted through. The team has found that a mobile app works for the majority of users, but not all. Furthermore, they do not want an app to be mandatory. Going forward to beta testing, they will research live traffic.

But just as we decided in discovery that we needed to start prototyping to keep up the pace of our learning, a few months later - and after an intense alpha - we concluded that doing real identity checking with real users will unlock the next big frontier of learning

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