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The question was very difficult to word, but what I'm wondering is whether all user avatars, signatures, et cetera should have a link near them (or should be a link) to their area in a settings menu, so that users would be able to feel their way through the UI if they hadn't found the settings link. This seems like a good practice, but I have almost never seen it used. Is there a good reason for this?

(A quick note: SO does this with user profiles, but they are an exception to the rule)

And for the "What have you tried" aspect of stackoverflow, I think that most websites are made with a platform (read: kind of a guess), and that those platforms often lack that feature, hence making it appear that more designers didn't do this.

The policy has been a big one of mine for along time, and I've yet to hear complaint over it, which makes the lack of this practice even more confusing.

Thanks in advance

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I think you need to be careful with creating links to pages where content can be edited (or even removed), definitely when the user is not fully aware where the link will take him. Besides, most sites feature some kind of a user profile as well. So where does the link take you? To the settings or to your public profile? And how would the user know?

I think the pattern of placing a link to the settings within a menu is such a common practice, you can rely on it to work. Moving away from that pattern creates unnecessary confusion.

  • an [edit] link would work as well, but that said, point taken. I think I'll hang the question up for a while to get some other opinions, but I'll probably end up accepting this one – user70585 Feb 27 '14 at 15:33

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