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I have an app that relies on a particular web service. It can't be used without login in, so the first screen users see is the login screen. Until recently I didn't thought that users would ever want to log out, but indeed that can happen in rare cases.

QUESTION: Where is the most intuitive place to put logout?

  • Button in the left menu?
  • In the preferences? (even though it can't really be called a preference)
  • In Accounts, in the general Android settings?
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  • You should seek to understand why, in those rare cases, Users wish to logout. Maybe they are just doing it because it is there? I suggest you strongly question the need to provide a sign-out feature to users on mobile. – straya Dec 7 '20 at 23:26
  • @straya: mostly because they created a new account, or use two accounts for privacy purposes. As I said it is rare though. – Nicolas Raoul Dec 8 '20 at 1:06
  • From a security perspective, not knowing the association between multiple accounts within your system that owned by the same actor is negligence - compliance requires IT systems to be managed carefully, there is no room for negligence. So when a bad actor has multiple accounts and starts aiming at your system, by advocating and facilitating the setup of multiple accounts you may well be shooting yourself in the foot. You will end up paying much more for the oversight later under such a scenario than handling it carefully at design time. – straya Dec 8 '20 at 1:36
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    Our policy is that having several accounts is OK, and it has been for 10 years. Every single day, several bad actors try to take advantage of that, but they are mostly using the web UI or API. People using several accounts are overwhelmingly good actors. – Nicolas Raoul Dec 8 '20 at 7:21
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If you have a material-style drawer in your app, I recommend putting your logout action in the options that appear when the account header is expanded.

Mike Penz's Material Drawer lib is a very useful way to implement this type of drawer: https://github.com/mikepenz/MaterialDrawer. Here's a screenshot from that lib with a Logout button scribbled in.

logout example

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You stated that it is a rare case, so it is okay to require multiple clicks. However, when you do that, make sure it is close to where the user expects the change in output. So if you show the user's (user)name, that would be the starting point. Because logging off will change the user. Clicking the name should supply the options related to the user, including log off. Look, for example, at how you sign out of Google or Windows

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  • Apps that waste space displaying my own name to me aren't well thought out. Need to see the name because you are testing multiple accounts? Why expose your testing related features to the public? Promoting multiple accounts in your system is typically a bad idea (might help you fake usage to gain funding but you're running on thin ice already there) – straya Dec 7 '20 at 23:23
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It's relative

Start by figuring out how the login button relates to other controls in your app.

  • How often will it be used relative to other functions?
  • How important is it to the user relative to other functions?
  • Is there a functional group it could belong to (eg settings or accounts)
  • What is the feature density of your app? If you have a lot of menus and buttons you may want to create some menu hierarchy.

Often for mobile apps, the result of this process is that the logout button gets moved off the main menu into an account or settings menu.

The reason is, users usually don't need to log out very often so it's far more valuable to use the screen real estate for more frequently used features.

This is NOT always the case. There are many apps where a login button needs to be easily accessible for security (eg banking), privacy (eg swingers), social (eg user may have multiple gaming accounts) or other reasons.

A proper analysis of the frequency, importance, and taxonomy of your login function relative to all your app functions should result in a pretty clear direction for where to place the button.

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  • "How often will it be used relative to other functions?" as stated in my question, very rare. "How important is it to the user relative to other functions?" not important. "Is there a functional group it could belong to (eg settings or accounts)" there are only a few options right now, none related, nothing in accounts yet. "What is the feature density of your app?" not dense. – Nicolas Raoul Oct 18 '15 at 3:29
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You could go back to the user story and see if you can add a positive spin on it. For example this might be better:

  • "As a user I want to see which account I am using and have the option to disconnect or change it"

Showing the user what account they are using can help give them confidence about it and a better understanding of what your log-out action will do. (You might even reduce log-outs/churn if some people want this because they are confused.)

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If I cannot justify a "no logout" experience, I would make it the furthest thing from a CTA (Call To Action) as possible. Making it one if not the lowest priority feature in the app.

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