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I certainly agree we should put login links on the front page. And can understand Why are log off buttons becoming hard to find?. But out of curiosity, why do so many sites make the log in button hard to find?

Of the five sites I've logged into so far today, the login is tiny:

Four sites with tiny login links

By contrast, Rhapsody makes it front and center.

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These sites have lots of data and talented designers. But surely they aren't looking at data showing they have too few return visitors to be worth devoting more than a tiny bit of screen real estate to them?

Is it just convention, and enough users know to just look there without reading?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Code Maverick, DA01, Evil Closet Monkey, Matt Obee, Erics Apr 5 at 17:13

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
I don't know that you can get a one-size-fits-all type of answer here. The question is very subjective in my opinion. –  Code Maverick Apr 4 at 19:53
    
Great question. I would expect sites to display more prominent login prompt to take care of existing users and promote customer loyalty, but it seems not to be the case... perhaps larger companies would expect you to return so they would focus on attracting new users? –  Albert Xing Apr 4 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

All your 'hard to find login' examples have one thing in common: the login buttons are in the same place. Top right corner. This is an excellent position because it is the norm. Most websites put the login button top right and most users expect the login button top right.

Your question is based on the assumption that the buttons are hard to find. I guess you aren't used to the convention yet. Next time when you search for the login button start looking in the top right corner.

I agree that other elements draw more attention then the login button. This is because most websites have more important messages to communicate. Name/logo, service description, sign up form, etc. Potential users are the targeted audience. The service needs to tell potential users who they are, what you can get and how to get it. The goal is to gain their trust and get them to sign up.

Don't be offended that the focus isn't always on the members. All members where guided to the sign up process once. Remember that most members also benefit form a large user base. So be glad the service makes it easier to sign up than to login.

Last thing, your example services keep you logged in. So there is no need to login unless you explicitly logged out. The logout button is part of the user menu and is positioned at the top right corner. The same place as the login button.

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I think it depends on what the company wants their main page to do. For many of these sites there is a lot of content you can access without logging in, so they hook you with that and then reel you in at a later point when you need to create an account for access to additional functionality (even stack exchange does this). Since this part is more important to their business model, the sign in button is given less visual importance on the page (if you have an account you have already invested enough in their site to bother looking for the sign in button).

Having said that, I'm not sure that small = hard to find. The sign in buttons for all these sites seem to have a convention for the location.

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