Where has to be “log out” button

There are a lot of important details in user interface that are neglected by many web designers. The demonstrative one is a “logout button”. It is very important for people who use public computers or these who share their computer with other people.

I spent a lot of time to find it in facebook.com ones. It was obvious for me that “logout” has to be visible in top right corner of the screen. But I couldn’t see it. Then I realized that small blue arrow was link to a submenu. When I opened it I looked in the bottom of this menu and I couldn’t find “log out” again. It was terrible because I used public computer and didn’t want to leave my account opened. After some minutes of recon I finally found this button in the submenu among “help” and “settings”. Surely I was in rush and this can be a reason of my fault. But anyway this is a good example to show how people think. I was looking for “log out” in top right area of the screen. When I couldn’t found it – I didn’t even try to find the button in other places but was continued to search in the top right. Then I was looking “log out” at the end of submenu list because unconsciously I realize that logout is the end so it has to be at the end of the list. It is little design defect that made my first facebook impression upset.

This button is still there – between “help” and “settings”. I think it is a big problem when some service has no competitor. Facebook have very bad usability at all and they do nothing because busyness is going okay.

This is common mistake you can find in popular web sites like linked-in.

If we don’t want to show “log out” we have to put it at the end of the list like on couchsurfing.org web site.

If the submenu list is long enough – users don’t even try to read it. They will look at the end of the list to find log out.

Gmail hided the button but you still can find it.

I recommend to put “log out” in visible position because it is high frequently used button and we have to simplify the way to it.

Look how it is easy to log out on Russian copy of facebook.com. Just one click.

User can easily log out even if the don’t know the language like on German social network Xing.com

Details are very important and we have to think about our users and put objects in places they used to know.

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