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How many of you had difficulties in finding out the logout button on stackexchange? Is the placement and the weightage given to it correct? Do stackexchange wants it's users not to logout? ;)

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    I never have difficulty because I never log out. – msanford Aug 10 '17 at 12:55
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    TIL how to log out of this site. – Alan Aug 10 '17 at 13:42
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    It's one time learning curve because most of the site use "logout" action right hand side and we are used to it. That is the reason you might find it little difficult to figure it out. – Andy Aug 10 '17 at 17:35
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How many of you had difficulties in finding out the logout button on stackexchange?

I never even looked for it to be honest. But i would expect the logout next to my "stats" on the upper right (where help is located)

Do stackexchange wants it's users not to logout?

I doubt it.

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How many of you had difficulties in finding out the logout button on stackexchange?

One reason is the stackexchange. Users of the others stack networks are used to the layout. Making it different into UX could make it for the users a little confusing.

Personally, I have no problem with the logout button. However, I agree that you could make it more visible, putting it side by side with other buttons like statistics.

Do stackexchange wants it's users not to logout?

To be honest, I'll have a hard time figuring out why I would like to leave the website, rather than leaving. Since it doesn't hold too much personal information (like FB), you wouldn't have the rush to logout. Oh, and no, I don't think that stackexchange would want you to "not" logout

  • "doesn't hold too much personal information" that's not really true. Besides something like the Developer Story, when you gain more reputation you gain privileges, like the ability to edit posts without review, close questions, and so on. That could be incredibly damaging to communities if left to someone random. – msanford Aug 10 '17 at 12:59
  • Now compare the personal informations hold in here with the data that facebook holds on you. Would you have the same amount of damage with it? @msanford That's my point, sorry if I made it ambiguous. – Andre Aquiles Aug 10 '17 at 13:28
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I would say no the placement is not right, and I'd even call it a dark pattern in most cases, though in this case it seems to be relatively harmless as it aligns with most users. That's not a great excuse though.


How many of you had difficulties in finding out the logout button on stackexchange?

I have also not really felt the need to logout. I might have tried to log out at some point but not in recent memory. In fact in the past I have stumbled across the opposite; why do I have to join a new community to post if it's all under the same account anyway?


Does stackexchange not want its users to logout?

No. Many sites want you to stick around as long as possible, for a variety of reasons.

One that I think ranks high on stackexchange is the ease of use. If you have to log in each time you want to ask or answer a question, it can become a hassle after a while. Seeing as the other two answers are "I never even tried to log out", it seems the choice for ease-of-use is appreciated.

The effect here is twofold; people enjoy using the site more, thus they create more content, which makes the site more attractive to outsiders.


Is the placement and the weightage given to it correct?

No. Why? Because it's an account related option. And weighting is (IMO) irrelevant if the placement is wrong.

The StackExchange dropdown is a fancy list of subsites, functionally very similar to dropdowns in any regular menu. It's supposed to let me move around. But in the right/middle of the top bar, we have a spot for my info. Avatar, points, achievements. These all relate to my account. This should also be where I log out. Either on the top bar itself, or as a button on the profile page.


While we're on the topic anyway, the two icons ('inbox' and 'recent') are also more account related, whereas the search bar and review/help buttons are very much site related. So overall I feel the top bar can be organized better.

All of this is a systemwide issue, and I think consistency trumps optimization in this case. Though maybe we as UX can convince other teams of a global swap?

P.S. shouldn't this discussion be on Meta?

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The positioning of the logout is unexpected. Most sites use the top right part of the nav bar for Account/Logout.

When searching for the logout:

  • I looked in the top right for a Log out button.
  • I looked for an Account option (thinking that there might be a sign out option there, like Google). The closest thing to this is the repuation/badges link, but you cannot sign out from there.
  • I clicked on the Stack Exchange dropdown, but the login wasn't at the top, so I scrolled all the way to the bottom, and it wasn't there either.
  • I gave up and looked at your picture.

The log out option is styled like a normal link, so I skimmed right over it when looking for the log out. It also looks related to the current community ("User Experience" in this case).

enter image description here

Even after finding the logout link, I wasn't sure what would happen when I clicked "log out". Given the placement of the link, I thought I'd be logging out of "User Experience". Clearly I was wrong:

enter image description here

After I'd logged out, I decided to see where the sign up / login buttons are when a user is not logged in, thinking it would provide a hint for the log out button placement:

enter image description here

Given that the sign up/login options are in the black nav bar, this is where I would expect to find the log out option.

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My experience seems unique in that I had no trouble locating the log out link. Maybe it was because the SE logo was, at first, confused with the mobile-style hamburger menu. In addition, it's next to the Inbox and Achievement icons, and seems analogous to the "File -> Exit" routine of a desktop application.

As to trying to compare the location of Sign up/Log in with the location of Log out, I often find them in different places, and seldom even remember where the Log in is/was after a few minutes anyway.

Considering that there are over 150 sites in the network, and you could spend a lifetime exploring them all, why would you need to log out? For security, you can, and should, use your desktop's lock screen, or your mobile device's lock feature, so, again, why log out of SE?

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Yes normally website/app businesses doesn't want the users to logout or deactivate, For example look on the process of deactivating your facebook profile, its very tricky and long process. They always want you to be engaged and active. They might think of: Why would you want to logout? there's nothing secret on UX stackexchange to logout. They want you to be always an active user on their platform.

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