October 2, 2007
Ashish Jain’s Open Letter to the CardSpace Team

Today Ashish Jain posted an “Open Letter to the CardSpace Team” that I’d highly encourage everyone interested in Information Cards to read. As I replied to Ashish, this is fabulous feedback. These are exactly the kinds of issues we’re going to need to nail, both as the Microsoft CardSpace team, and as an industry, to get to seamless, ubiquitous use of Information Cards. Thanks for the great input!

As we’re planning future versions of CardSpace, it’s incredibly valuable to be hearing this and other constructive feedback from the community based on real deployment experiences. Keep it coming!

Towards that end, please permit me to be so bold, Ashish, as to ask you to write a second installment of your Open Letter. You did a tremendous job in the first capturing things that we could do better on. In the second it would be cool if you could capture the things that you believe that we already got right. Why? To hear you heap on the praise? No (although we’ll never refuse that when offered :-) ). I’m asking so that as we change things to make future versions better, we also have community input in some areas saying “This aspect of CardSpace is already working well for me – please keep it working at least that well in the future!”

And of course, my request doesn’t only apply to Ashish. The more concrete feedback we receive about what’s working well for you with CardSpace and what isn’t, the more data we’ll have to base our future decisions upon. Drop me a note when you post feedback and maybe also leave a blog comment on this post pointing to your feedback as well so I and others will be sure to see it.

Finally, as you know, the CardSpace team now has a voice at CardSpace: Behind The Code where you can expect to hear both posts both about things we’ve already improved in the upcoming the .Net Framework 3.5 release and also questions from the team and community dialog. So be sure to tune in to the discussion there as well.

Thanks again for the great letter, Ashish!

2 Responses to “Ashish Jain’s Open Letter to the CardSpace Team”

  1. Dennis Hamilton on 03 Oct 2007 at 11:22 am #

    Halleluiah, Halleluiah, HALLELUIAH!!

    [my word for the day]

    At last, someone who wants to know what is working for people as well as where people want to see improvement.

    I can’t tell you how many times I see feature recidivism where something that works great for me is corrupted or removed altogether (witness my love affair with POP, which works wonderfully for me and which has been in and out of MSN, Hotmail, Windows Live Mail over and over again because someone decided that one other perfect way was better for all of us, whether IMAP or the Web or …). An example that comes to mind today because of the return of POP3 access to Hotmail.

    GREAT JOB!!

    And know, I didn’t know about Behind the Code so I will be watching. Must have missed it.

    Do you have a place where community input should be addressed or are you just searching for tag=”CardSpace” everywhere?

  2. Eric Norman on 03 Oct 2007 at 5:19 pm #

    First of all, don’t anyone get me wrong here. Ashish’s letter is a real good thing. Mike’s acknowledgment of it is a real good thing. I’m not complaining, but I will comment.

    About the first bullet: I don’t think number of clicks is considered a good measure of usability by folks that study usability. It’s too much geekspeak and doesn’t measure what’s important.

    When it gets down to such details, usability people think in terms of tasks. There are different kinds of tasks: cognitive — recalling things, making decisions; operational — reading dials (displays), twisting knobs, pushing buttons, typing things in, etc.

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with asking users to click. Fer Pete’s sake, we do it all the time with those link things. What has a negative impact on usability is if users don’t have the information they need to decide whether to click or not.

    Besides, the 5 click claim sure doesn’t sound right to me. Is that 5 extra clicks beyond what would happen with username/password? Perhaps a list of the task associated with each of those 5 clicks would help.

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