During one of the conferences last year, Bob made some interesting points regarding adoption of new technologies. As a general rule, they need to be
- easy to describe
- easy to get
- easy for first time use.
Given the above guidelines, I believe we still have some work to do when it comes to describing Information Cards (or whatever “the thing” is).
The card metaphor has been there for a while. I believe we all understand fairly well the concept of physical cards in our wallet and how to pick one based on the context. However, explaining how that can be mapped to the digitial world has been challenging.
In conversations with technologists, implementers, early adopters, consumers, I have seen the use of following terms interchangeably and therefore spending the first part of the discussions in getting the terminology right.
- Information Card
- Self Issued Card
- Managed Card
- Personal Card
- Password Card
- p-card, pcard
- m-card, mcard
- i-card, icard
- h-card, hcard, Higgins card
- r-card, rcard, Relationship card,
- a-card, acard, Action Card
- IMI Cards
- Digital Cards, Identity Cards…
- and my favorite – “the thing”
This, in addition to the basic identity terminology (IdP, RP, AP, SP, Selector, Client, Agent, Active, Passive…) and multiple protocols doesn’t make things easy.
I understand there are multiple things that are being described here – the protocol, the GUI Metaphor, the token format, the blob that the user stores on his PC and so forth. I also understand the need of innovation and may be it’s too early to agree on a single terminology. But if the techonology does get some success and the branding people start joining the discussions, it’s only going to get tougher.
So…here is my request to ICF:
“Get an agreement on the basic naming conventions, share the results and stick to it.”