Sharing the Format, But Not the State

Sometimes your organization needs to tie into third party Web sites with corporate badging.  In these cases, you either provide them with a set of CSS files and whatnot that cover your site’s template.  In other cases, you just trust them to grab the things they need off the Web site.  And you let them grab.

However, it would behoove you to apply a little intelligence to the process instead of doing the equivalent of cut and paste.  Case in point: Amazon.com, which links to off-site press releases but does not pass logged-in state, leading to a misleading bit of imagery:

First, here is Amazon.com when you’re not logged in:

Amazon
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Now, when you’re logged in, the top identifies that you’re logged in.  All over the place:

Here is someone logged in.
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But if you click through to the media releases, you’re taken from Amazon.com to the site of some PR or PR hosting firm:

But now I'm not logged in?
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Amazon is not sharing credentials with this site, which is appropriate; however, note that at the top, the site indicates that the user is not logged into Amazon.com when this is not the case.  Showing incorrect things is bad.  Sometimes, I have to restate this in defense of defects.  Telling the user things which are not so is bad.

Corporate IR.net should have masked this messaging.  All other links and whatnot would have worked seamlessly, taking the user back to Amazon where he or she is logged in.  But the invitation to log in or sign up should have been suppressed.  You don’t need to pass the credentials, and you don’t have to fake a logged-in look.

Remember when you’re working across sites like this to look with a jaundiced eye to the places where the original template shows state that the copied site should not.

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