I did a mini-discovery of the “Sign Out” pages of some of the sites I often visit. This is the page the user sees after deciding to “Sign Out” or “Log Off”. The main purpose users perform this action is so that other subsequent users of the same computer do not have access to the original user’s personal and/or financial information.
First, I found it interesting that, from what I could tell, there are two naming terminologies to choose from for a site. Sign In / Sign Out and Log In / Log Out. I think I like Sign In / Sign Out more, but lets move on to the more important stuff..
For the site itself, the main purpose of the page can be to:
- Give the user the ability to immediately enter the site again (Sign-In functionality on the Sign-Out page)
- Take this opportunity to merchandise something to the user
- Give the user a confirmation that they have indeed subsequently signed out
Let’s take a look at some examples.
WordPress, Facebook, and YouTube took the novel path of redirecting the user straight back to their homepages (this is why I haven’t provided any screenshots).
Chase communicates to the user that they have successfully logged off. I find it funny that they included the date too – not sure what the importance of this is for the user.
Gmail uses this page to merchandise the service (Gmail) to the user. Not sure why they would do this as the user is already a user – maybe to garner even more loyalty? Also, Gmail has a button that the user can press to go back to the homepage to sign in again. I don’t like this approach as I don’t think this page adds anything that the Gmail homepage doesn’t already have. In fact, it doesn’t even have a sign-out confirmation message. All it does is add more more unnecessary step for the user to sign-in again.
Twitter both confirms the sign out and takes a moment to encourage the user to use Twitter on a different platform i.e. Mobile. I wonder what their mobile sign-out page looks like. Maybe they encourage their users to try Twitter on a tablet or a “normal” computer?
Finally, I saved the most interesting one for last. As an Amazon user, it is NOT possible to sign-out! Well, actually, this isn’t entirely true. It’s just that there is no explicit sign-out link. The user only sees two links referring to not being the user that is currently signed in. As a user, I find this annoying and confusing. Why can’t I sign out? Obviously, they do this in order to keep people from signing out.
But the reality is, both of these links are in fact sign out links. By clicking on either of the “not so and so” links, you are taken to this sign-in page, and if you click back or go to the Amazon homepage, the original user is no longer signed in. Clever…but possibly annoying.