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I wanted to log out from Teams but finding how to wasn't an easy task.

Step 1

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Step 2

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I once had an internship where my boss asked me to do the same. I then asked why, and he told me that we sometimes don't want people to log out. So we put the link in a place where they can't easily find it.

Is it true? Is there more to it than just preventing the user from logging out? And why don't we want people to log out?

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    Sometimes we try to make it hard for users to logout because - 1. We want them to use the application more and more. 2. We think that the users don't really need to logout. For example :- they don't need to logout of stackexchange.com website but they need to logout from a banking website.
    – Ajeet Shah
    Jan 2 at 17:01

3 Answers 3

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There is probably more of a difference between desktop and web applications when it comes to the logout function.

Often you'll find that users accidentally or unintentionally close a tab on a browser and the information is cached so when they open the link again the session is restored. In that case you need them to explicitly log out to indicate their intentions. However, many applications with stronger security measures don't allow users to do that so they have to log in again.

With desktop or mobile applications, many of them are designed to continually run in the background (e.g. Windows OS or iOS phones) so logging out effectively stops the notifications and other features from working so the developers might not want people to log out.

However, instead of making it hard to find where log out is, a more user friendly way could be to display a message that lets the user know what will happen if they log out and confirm that this is what they want to do.

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This decision should be made by running the research to find out the cases when the user would want to log out when the app would want the user to log out ( eg: sensitive data contained like banking apps ) and any other applicable case.

Hiding things from the user or breaking common patterns ( usually sitting somewhere around the user profile ) shouldn't be a solution in the majority of cases. What if the user is using a shared computer and before leaving has to log out but can't find the log out button so he just leaves ?

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Practically speaking from having worked in silicon valley for a decade-plus, the reason is business aka revenue. The longer the engagement time = generally the better for the business.

So, this maybe even is considered a pseudo-dark pattern but continues to exist and be adopted by various apps/websites because it's proven to increase metrics like Session Duration, Average Time on Page, # of active users, etc.

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