Take the 2-minute tour ×
User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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?

share|improve this question
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
add comment

5 Answers

up vote 23 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.

share|improve this answer
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
add comment

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.

share|improve this answer
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
add comment

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.

share|improve this answer
nice, its really about usage –  sushil bharwani Jun 14 '12 at 5:36
add comment

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.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I am not sure which sites you are referring to, but luckily more and more web applications are moving away from requiring their own user management to allowing users to login using their existing Google/Yahoo/Facebook/Twitter etc accounts by utilizing OpenID, OAuth etc.

share|improve this answer
If you notice facebook gmail linkedin the logout is not visible directly and you will have to reach on to it. Contrary to earlier days when it was easily visible for click. –  sushil bharwani Feb 17 '11 at 10:30
Like here in the header you can see a logout button. But on facebook YOu will have to go on accounts and click on the dropdown to look for logout link. –  sushil bharwani Feb 17 '11 at 10:45
I think it has got to do with if the site wants you to stay logged in or not. Facebook probably wants you to stay logged in so you can use the account on other sites that uses your Facebook account. For example banks on the other hand, don't want you to stay logged in due to security - hence they put the logout button on a more visible place. –  Henrik Ekblom Feb 17 '11 at 12:22
Sites that need to be secure like banking or online payments will have a clear sign out button/link and they will even sign you out automatically after a period of time. Services like Google/Facebook/Twitter etc which may serve as your identity on other sites (OpenID, OAuth) will not make it so prominent. –  Geert Feb 17 '11 at 16:15
Saying that many sites use OpenID doesn't answer the question. The user still needs to log out somehow. –  DisgruntledGoat Feb 20 '11 at 20:59
show 2 more comments

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.