There is a button on a Kiosk style web app I am developing that destroys all session variables and chucks the person back to the logon screen (logging them out).

When I took the project over the writing is 'Exit' which is clear to the users (not technical people in the slightest) but inaccurate as you don't actually exit the program (the web browser).

I am thinking about changing the wording to logout, because that is exactly what it does, but will non-technical types know this word? I can't even assume users have ever been on the web before.

Any feedback or third options would be greatly appreciated.

  • 7
    Nitpick: it's "Log out". "Logout" is a noun; presumably, your link denotes an action, and therefore should be a verb. :-)
    – Rahul
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 14:33
  • @Rahul - that isn't a Nitpick, you are totally right! Cheers for pointing it out.
    – Toby
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 14:58
  • Do you have an icon? Depending on your icon that might drive the copy or vice a versa.
    – IanL
    Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 19:23
  • @IanL - Nope, no icon or branding as such.
    – Toby
    Commented Aug 24, 2010 at 13:02
  • 2
    According to the answers to this question, you should probably use sign out instead of "log out." Commented Aug 30, 2010 at 17:36

5 Answers 5


I don't think you should bend the facts to make it sound better for novice users.

If the buttons logs the user out it should say logout or it can say close or end session or any other word or statement synonymous with logout but since it doesn't exit it shouldn't say exit.

  • 4
    Many times we may think we are making things easier for the user by changing terms used to make them "user friendly", but in reality we are making it worse because elements like logout buttons are standard practice across the web. It is easier to learn something once than to have to relearn again for every interface. Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 14:56
  • Because the user exits the web app, I do not see why “exit” is incorrect, even though the user does not exit the web browser. Not that I oppose to “sign out” or “log out.” Commented Dec 9, 2010 at 12:57
  • Actually, it should say Log Out and not Logout because logout is a noun or an adjective and log out is a verb. Since they are performing an action, that's the proper phrase to put there. Commented Dec 10, 2010 at 14:15

Logging out implies that the session has been closed; the next user won't be able to access your data. It may not make much difference to the novice, but experienced users will likely be much more comfortable using the kiosk if they know they can log out.


Your typical user nowadays has email, and logs in to quite a number of other sites, for example facebook, which all have a prominent Log Out link, so it's my belief that the logout link should be instantly recognizable to users.

To use a computer, even, they are required to know about 'logging off'.

  • As I say, I cannot assume they have ever been on the net before, it is a web app but it will be in a Kiosk environment.
    – Toby
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 13:57

I would think user expectation is also important. Is there a long standing user base? They may get confused. Changes to an UI also can always create a situation in which users that have used the particular UI will hesitate because they are somewhat on an autopilot, but the change is throwing that off.

Therefore, you want to think about if this change is really worth it. If you have a small user base, or can communicate the change easily than this is certainly easier.

  • The app is still in development, this is not a concern, good point though.
    – Toby
    Commented Aug 19, 2010 at 14:57

How about "Done"? Or "Done, Back to Home Screen"?

I agree that a lot of users would understand what "Log out" means nowadays, but I don't find it appropriate for a kiosk. A close example would be an ATM machine -- never saw one that says "Log out".

  • 1
    done means I'm doing this task, it's suitable as the submit button on a form. using it for logout is too confusing.
    – hasen
    Commented Aug 21, 2010 at 2:49

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