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?

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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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

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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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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