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This is obviously something that the user doesn't need to see very often, but something that management or sales might have strong opinions about.

In a desktop application the user is probably going to go to once or twice (maybe to check version number or licence information), is it a good idea to integrate this button into the logo (since it is difficult to tell whether it is a place to click)? I have seen increasing use of this in the modern software applications, so I am wondering if it is a common practice and what the rationale is compared to just creating a distinct help or about button.

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I would think very carefully about how well established the web idiom 'logo click goes home' is –  ColinSharpe Aug 2 '13 at 9:03
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3 Answers 3

Only do it as a secondary option

I would say you need to to have a clear path to the "about" section or whatever it may be.

If you were to connect it to a logo, I would probably only do it as a secondary way to get to the about section.

All that said, I don't think it is uncommon for a logo in a desktop application to offer information about the application. However, on websites, logos typically link to the homepage.

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I'd think twice before considering anything common knowledge, and then think about it some more if it's about a feature that might be very useful.

Either stick the logo in a button shape, or add some form of indication that it's a link.

And then still it might seem like a "home" button, depending on where you show it.

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In a desktop application situation, there isn't really a concept of home if most of the actions take place in a main application window. How would this change your answer? –  Michael Lai Aug 4 '13 at 23:22
    
It would put more emphasis on making it seem like an element that allows for interaction. I think @DesignerGuy worded it quite nicely; make it a secondary option. Put a button somewhere that does exactly the same thing, because nobody is going t know what the logo does until they click it - if they click it. –  Dirk v B Aug 5 '13 at 1:33
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It depends on the product. Is the about section something your users need to find by themselves?

Version numbers are useful for cc/support/developers and sometimes users.

If your users don't need to find the about section, then it's OK since your support/developers will know where to find it. However, it might become a hassle when something goes wrong and you need to instruct users by email/phone each and every time, to click the logo in order to get the version number so you can debug their problems. (If you give support over something like TeamViewer that's not such a big problem)

In most cases users won't care much about version numbers until something goes wrong, so hiding the about section is often a good thing. However, the logotype should probably not be considered the common place for an about section. Hide it in a menu item instead.

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