Identity at Mozilla

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  1. Improvements to the First Time Sign-up Flow

    Jul 24, 2012 — by stomlinsonmoz

    The Persona team has always been interested in optimizing the user experience for developers and users alike. Some time ago we identified one area where we could improve: the first-time sign-up flow. We’ve been hard at work making this process as smooth as possible, read on to find out how!

    The Challenge

    The Persona sign-up flow is designed to leverage the user’s existing accounts and passwords if their email provider supports our protocol. For unsupported providers, we verify identities by sending a confirmation email. This flow potentially causes the user to leave the destination site to check their email, an action that can make it difficult to navigate back.

    The Goal - Increase Completion Rates

    The goal is simple - increase the completion rate. A completed user is one who has verified their email address, is viewing the destination site, and is authenticated to that site.

    We previously experimented with redirecting users back to the destination site, but until recently there was no way to sign the user in. The new Observer API makes this possible - everything is now lined up to complete the flow.

    The Observer API makes user verification seamless. Once a user completes* the Persona verification they are redirected to the destination site and automatically signed in.  Information about the Observer API can be found on MDN.

    Simplifying the Persona Sign Up Flow from Shane Tomlinson on Vimeo.

    Redirect Verified Users to Alternate Endpoints

    The new returnTo option to allows a site to send users to an alternate endpoint after address verification.

    returnTo is an absolute path, meaning it *must* start with “/”. Neither relative paths nor alternate domains can be specified.{ 
    returnTo: '/pathToReturnTo.html',

    Support for returnTo and the other post-verification updates are live in production now. Check out the docs, give it a try, and let us know what you think. You can contact us through our mailing list, the #identity IRC channel on, or on Twitter with “#browserid”.


    * Only users who verify their email address using the same browser they used to start the signup will be redirected and signed in.