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I have recently observed many sites that do not have a log out button. Either it's not there or hidden somewhere so that you have to find it. Why do you think this has been done? Does it apply to every category of site - for example a social networking site versus a banking site?

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Please provide a example site if possible. – srcspider Feb 17 '11 at 18:32
@srcspider: Gmail – dotancohen Feb 2 '12 at 16:59
@srcspider: Here at UX SE as well – John-Philip Jun 26 '12 at 18:17
Amazon does this as as it has two 'levels' of login: one for browsing and then another to access purchases or other more sensitive account information. – PhillipW Dec 13 '13 at 18:59

7 Answers 7

up vote 29 down vote accepted

The original poster is talking about how many site are hiding the logout link. Facebook makes you open the account menu to see the logout link.

facebook account facebook logout

My guess is that there's really no need to log out of your account these days. Public computers are not used as much anymore, so there's no need to protect your privacy. Everyone owns their own personal laptop or computer. We even have personal cell phones with browsers. Only you have access to your personal devices, so why go through the hassle of logging out every session and typing in your long ass email / password whenever you come back? Web designers realized this and they hide rarely used features to make room for showcasing more heavily used features.

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I can think of plenty of reasons I'd want to log out of Facebook (not that it would stop them tracking me...) – fredley Jan 6 '12 at 14:44
It's exactly for this that facebook hides the logout button. :-) – chumkiu Jan 15 '13 at 10:49
Actually, staying logged in seriously increased the changes of a CSRF / confused deputy attack where you might think you're taking an action on a site but really you're clicking an action on Facebook which is in a transparent frame above what you see, for example – Adam Lynch Apr 4 '13 at 19:14

From a user perspective, logging in is a hassle.

why? because users need to remember and input their login info and sometimes tend to forget their login details, then they need to go thru the process of password reset or recovery which is a pain.

proof of this. the widespread use of the integrated login with facebook and google plus button. let's face it. humans are too lazy to logout and login again.

Personally i hate it when a website or app logs me out for some reason of when i reset my browser cache.

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It's because of sub-services they offer. For example, in order to reply to discussions on some third party sites, you'll need to be logged into Facebook. Or, in order to leave a YouTube comment, you'll need to be logged into your Google account.

If the user logged out each time they navigated away from the core service, they'd have to log back in each time they wanted to do something else that relied on the service.

Also, when you're logged into a service like Google or Facebook, you're bound to their TOS. They are able to track certain activities. This is to their benefit.

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One reason to hide it is for caching.

For example on your home page, if you're logged out show login button. If logged in show logout button. This kills the cache.

However, if there's a menu that says my account, and its contents are loaded dynamically, you can cache the rest of the page. This increases performance.

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The reason why we placed the logout button in a submenu is because it saves space. Just like on a desktop app (the quit app button is in a drop down menu) we created a "Settings" menu that allowed us to place multiple items into one section freeing up the UI for other pieces of content.

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I bet it's because sites are organizing their nav/menus based on each item's frequency of use--and users don't log out very often.

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nice, its really about usage – sushil bharwani Jun 14 '12 at 5:36

By encouraging users to stay logged in, service providers like Google and Facebook can not only make the login experience less of a hassle, but (perhaps far less innocently) gather browsing data and habits on their users (even when they're not using the service) to enhance advertising intelligence.

And that's something that makes me wary.

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Hiding the logout buttons creates a bigger barrier to leave the facebook website. I guess its a dark pattern to keep you distracted. – Barfieldmv Jun 13 '12 at 9:48
Every time you visit a site that shows the facebook like button or gives you a box where you can enter facebook comments, facebook is probably tracking you and logging the fact that you visited that website. If you are not logged into facebook then they should not be doing this. – Sarel Botha Jul 22 '12 at 16:05
They can gather data when we're not using their service..? Elaborate please? (For Facebook moreso) – HC_ Nov 20 at 0:55

protected by Community Jun 21 '14 at 11:20

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