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What is best practice to handle what happens to the user after the successfully login on a dedicated login page.

Our current website has 2 possibilities. If the user was directed to the login page based on trying to access content they don't have access to once successfully logged in it will redirect back to that page. If they manually navigate to the login page after a successful login they get directed to the home page. This doesn't quite feel right to me.

The scenario that sparked this question is my project manager is insisting on displaying a thank you message instead of a redirection. Thoughts?

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Why, it seems right to me. And it's what every major website does. –  you786 Nov 29 '12 at 23:25
    
Provided an update with some additional details. –  lukek Nov 30 '12 at 1:14
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Where do people want to go after logging in? It's either the page they were trying to access, or the home page. –  DA01 Nov 30 '12 at 3:23
    
I would assume the home page most likely. If they land on the login page due to trying to access a page I automatically redirect them back there after login since we obviously know where they want to go at that stage. –  lukek Nov 30 '12 at 4:15
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I agree that navigation to a home page is often the wrong thing to do -- in fact I find it annoying. A couple years ago a did a survey of sites, and which did this, and which did not, called The Login Test –  AgilePro Jan 10 '13 at 19:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

It depends on what the typical user has come to your site/app for. Redirecting to the homepage may not be the best option when a user profile is available for example - where the information displayed is most relevant to them.

A good example of this would be the current MySpace (not the new MySpace currently at the invite stage), The user may navigate to the login area/page, but very few users will want to be taken to the homepage - because this information is generic and not tailored to the individual - As such directing the user to their profile would be the better option.

Your first possibility is definitely the correct method in that use case.

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Interesting. The users on the site I am currently developing are going to want to log in for 2 reasons. To visit a forum, and view the information articles. As there is many different categories I think the home page may actually be the best on my site as the home page serves as basically a root level of all the categories. I don't expect forums will be a priority for most users. –  lukek Nov 30 '12 at 1:10
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It's all down to the use case. Users should be directed a page where they can obtain the most value. So from what you've described, it sounds as though the Homepage is your best bet. Definitely don't insert a page thanking the user, it's an extra step that isn't required and the user does not expect. –  Daniel Meade Nov 30 '12 at 1:17

It depends on your application and what your customer is most likely to want to do after logging in.

For example, when I log into gmail, it takes me directly to my inbox as most of the time this fits my intent in logging in. However when I sign into Amazon, I am simply shown the Amazon home page, which also makes sense.

Try to show your customers the page that they are most likely to want to use immediately after logging in, and where possible try have that page include content that they are likely to be interested in rather than just a menu or navigation page.

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I'm reading into the question a bit since others have provided good answers - but it seems as though the project manager may be after a success confirmation to the user for the login. It may be possible to present the 'Thank you' as a (e.g.) balloon on the login page before the redirect that fades after it is presented and still redirects the user to the appropriate home page. The best example I can give is how chill.com handles their login.

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In this case we are talking about another page that just has a thank you message. But your suggestion is pretty cool actually and would be pretty simple to implement. –  lukek Nov 30 '12 at 4:16

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