You may have noticed when you log into http://portal.office.com you have a new option to try the new sign-in experience!
What is this?
The purpose is to make Azure Active Directory sign-ins work more rationally and effectively. Well isn’t that an ambiguous statement! It is the beginning of a migration by Microsoft to converge the Azure AD and Microsoft account identity systems.
So, what does this mean?
We are going to see a more unified login experience for all Microsoft applications. To today there are many Microsoft systems that require a live id versus using your Azure AD login id. This is the beginning where Microsoft will converge the two environments and create a common experience across all platforms.
- Redesign of Azure AD & Microsoft account sign-in experience
Azure AD & Microsoft account sign-in pages will both change to have a consistent look and feel, so you won’t experience anymore jarring transitions when you move between the two.
- Pagination of the Azure AD sign-in page
The new design prompts you to enter your username on the first screen followed by a credential (typically a password) on a second screen. We’ve done a lot of testing of this design and our telemetry shows that people are able to sign in with a notably higher success rate using this approach. It also sets us up to be able to easily introduce new forms of authentication like phone sign-in and certificate-based authentication.
What does it look like?
Paginated sign-in flow (desktop view)
- Username and password are collected on separate pages
- This mock shows default branding – when no company branding is configured
Desktop UI (with company branding configured)
- Check to see that your existing company branding, if configured, works well with the new layout
Any company branding you currently have configured will be carried forward to the new UI: sign-in image, banner logo, username hint, sign-in page text and background color. However, the opaque white box in the middle of the new design might obscure the subject focus of your existing image. If you need to make any changes, you can make them in the “Company branding” pane in the Azure Portal.
- Verify automation that runs on the sign-in page
Since sign-in is now done over two screens, any existing automation might break. Do a quick test and update your code if necessary.
- Update documentation and training material
Documentation containing screenshots and step-by-step guides for signing in might have to be updated to explain the paginated flow and show the new UI.
Note that there are still a few pages like MFA that will continue to show the old design. Microsoft is working hard to bring the new design to these pages in the coming weeks.
Also, this design will not impact or change the way that ADFS functions.
Microsoft understands that this may be a disruptive change for some of you. At this time, the new sign-in experience is in opt-in public preview, which means that you can turn it on to test. Please take the time to test and verify that the new sign-in experience will not cause your users any problems. Look for this to become the default login screen later this year.