Remember that in most cases, users encounter IdP discovery as an interruption of another task, such as trying to read an article. The recommendations in this section focus on helping users quickly find their institution and get back to their original task by minimizing clicks and cognitive load. 


  • Label the search page: “Find your institution” . 

  • Include descriptive text below the heading to provide clear instructions on what to search for. 

  • Ensure that it is visually clear the entry field is an input box (border, icon, or placeholder text)

  • Support for searching institution abbreviations, e.g., UCLA. 

  • Deriving institution from entered email domain is optional. 

    • User testing showed that most users are unlikely to enter their email address as a means of identifying their IdP.   However, email address is included as an option in the IdP discovery process because in some situations (for example mergers and acquisitions of corporations) institution name is ambiguous. 

    • Email addresses provided for IdP look up should not be retained; only the domain portion of the email address should be used to conduct the search. 

  • Provide a continuous progress indicator if search results are not displayed immediately so that users know that something is happening.

For implementation of the found institutions, see .


Accessibility Notes for Institution Search

Follow overall principles for Seamless Access Accessibility.

For institution search:

  • Provide clear labeling that is available to assistive technology, that indicates how to use the search form (e.g. aria-labelledby)

  • Only automatically focus on the search form if it is the only purpose of the page.

  • Provide auto-focus and ability to move out of the dialog, when search is presented in a dialog.

  • Announce (e.g. aria-live) to the user a search has been initiated and results are being gathered (loading bar), add a delay in the announcement to ensure assistive technologies can announce the activity fully.