Terms for log in / out

25 Oct 2006 - 9:14am
7 years ago
8 replies
736 reads
bhekking
2006

Hi all -

I'm in the middle of bringing our thick and thin UI's into the 1990's (we'll
tackel the modern age later, hopefully), and one issue that's got me worked up
is our log in / out terminology.

Today, we use "Login" / "Logout" on our window titles, labels, buttons, etc. to
indicate these actions. I did a quick survey and found that Google, MSDN,
Amazon, Ebay, and Yahoo! all use "Sign In" / "Sign Out". Finally, the circa
1995 Windows UI guidelines (will they ever update those?) mention "Log On" /
"Log Off".

What are your thoughts? Our users are frequent Excel users, so the MS
'standard' might be the way to go.

Thanks,
Bret Hekking
Applix, Inc.

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Comments

25 Oct 2006 - 12:39pm
Ian Roberts
2004

Top-of-the-head thought is that what I see is people "log in" to a computer
account, and they "sign in" to a service on that account. ~ian
--
Ian Roberts <Interaction Designer> Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

On 10/25/06 7:14 AM, "Bret Hekking" <bhekking at yahoo.com> wrote:

>
> Today, we use "Login" / "Logout" on our window titles, labels, buttons, etc.
> to
> indicate these actions. I did a quick survey and found that Google, MSDN,
> Amazon, Ebay, and Yahoo! all use "Sign In" / "Sign Out". Finally, the circa
> 1995 Windows UI guidelines (will they ever update those?) mention "Log On" /
> "Log Off".

25 Oct 2006 - 3:36pm
Katie Albers
2005

I'd say that Microsoft has, de facto, updated its guidelines on this since
apparently they use "Sign In" and "Sign Out" too.

In general, "Login" and "Logout" are best applied to situations where the
user is interacting with the computer-side of things and the "Sign"
versions are best applied to situations where the user is interacting with
a service or application.

Katie

Original Message:
-----------------

On 10/25/06 7:14 AM, "Bret Hekking" <bhekking at yahoo.com> wrote:

>
> Today, we use "Login" / "Logout" on our window titles, labels, buttons,
etc.
> to
> indicate these actions. I did a quick survey and found that Google, MSDN,
> Amazon, Ebay, and Yahoo! all use "Sign In" / "Sign Out". Finally, the
circa
> 1995 Windows UI guidelines (will they ever update those?) mention "Log
On" /
> "Log Off".
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25 Oct 2006 - 8:22pm
jbellis
2005

Bret,

I too did such a survey prior to designing a new system and thus went with
Sign In. And, though I still think it's the right decision, be aware that
you will constantly hear "log in" in the vast majority of conversations.
This doesn't mean you made the wrong decision; it just means there's an
evolution going on, guided by folks trying to transition to language
slightly more current to the user's perspective. It's probably very
comparable to "directory" vs. "folder." I convert directory to folder
everywhere I have a chance, but most tech folks can't stop saying directory.

I don't think the subtle distinction of using "log in" for the more
technical contexts (interacting with the computer-side) will hold up over
time.

I also argue, as someone allergic to personas, that your users'
background----Office users---- is immaterial. They get 90% of the meaning
from the cues and context, whether "log" or "sign" and those first four
characters might not even get parsed by the part of the brain that does a
literal, "directory" lookup on concepts.

-Jack

----- Original Message -----
From: <katie at firstthought.com>
To: <discuss at ixda.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2006 4:36 PM
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Terms for log in / out

> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I'd say that Microsoft has, de facto, updated its guidelines on this since
> apparently they use "Sign In" and "Sign Out" too.
>
> In general, "Login" and "Logout" are best applied to situations where the
> user is interacting with the computer-side of things and the "Sign"
> versions are best applied to situations where the user is interacting with
> a service or application.
>
> Katie
>
>
> Original Message:
> -----------------
>
> On 10/25/06 7:14 AM, "Bret Hekking" <bhekking at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>>
>> Today, we use "Login" / "Logout" on our window titles, labels, buttons,
> etc.
>> to
>> indicate these actions. I did a quick survey and found that Google, MSDN,
>> Amazon, Ebay, and Yahoo! all use "Sign In" / "Sign Out". Finally, the
> circa
>> 1995 Windows UI guidelines (will they ever update those?) mention "Log
> On" /
>> "Log Off".
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
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> http://mail2web.com/ .
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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26 Oct 2006 - 8:17am
Ulla Tønner
2004

What about "Sign up" then? Then that will be when you want to require an account/membership? Sign up, Sign in, Sign out.

/ Ulla Tonner

---------------------------------------------

I don't think the subtle distinction of using "log in" for the more technical contexts (interacting with the computer-side) will hold up over time.

>
> I'd say that Microsoft has, de facto, updated its guidelines on this since
> apparently they use "Sign In" and "Sign Out" too.
>
> In general, "Login" and "Logout" are best applied to situations where the
> user is interacting with the computer-side of things and the "Sign"
> versions are best applied to situations where the user is interacting with
> a service or application.

26 Oct 2006 - 12:00pm
Alvin Tan
2006

I'm in this situation right now too - to decide which to use. My problem
with using Sign In, Sign Out, and Sign Up is that there's too much of the
word "Sign". I think one can get away with "Create Account" or "Register"
instead of Sign up.

Any thoughts on Create Account/Register to couple with Sign In/Out?

Alvin

On 10/26/06, Ulla Tønner <ut at resultmaker.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> What about "Sign up" then? Then that will be when you want to require an
> account/membership? Sign up, Sign in, Sign out.
>
> / Ulla Tonner
>
> ---------------------------------------------
>
> I don't think the subtle distinction of using "log in" for the more
> technical contexts (interacting with the computer-side) will hold up over
> time.
>
> >
> > I'd say that Microsoft has, de facto, updated its guidelines on this
> since
> > apparently they use "Sign In" and "Sign Out" too.
> >
> > In general, "Login" and "Logout" are best applied to situations where
> the
> > user is interacting with the computer-side of things and the "Sign"
> > versions are best applied to situations where the user is interacting
> with
> > a service or application.
>

27 Oct 2006 - 1:04am
Håkan Reis
2006

I agree with the sign, sign sign thing, create account/register is far
better terminology. if you are a sloppy reader (like me) you will
simetimes (ok, depends on the layout of things) hit sign up when you
want to sign in. In/Out is ok, because most of the time you know when
you are signed in or out.

As to the guidelines, take a look at windows vista user experience
guidelines: http://tinyurl.com/s842d. Its for vista but a lot is usful
when it comes to WinXP as well.

/ Håkan Reis
Dotway AB
http://blog.reis.se

PS, why do I always hit reply and not reply all in IxDA discussions...

27 Oct 2006 - 12:46pm
Esteban Barahona
2006

Can it be better to use diagrams? ...like a box with an arrow in for "sign
in" and the same box with an arrow out to "sign out" ( with <img title="sign
_" alt="sign _" /> )? Could that be confusing?

2006/10/27, Håkan Reis <hakan.reis en dotway.se>:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> I agree with the sign, sign sign thing, create account/register is far
> better terminology. if you are a sloppy reader (like me) you will
> simetimes (ok, depends on the layout of things) hit sign up when you
> want to sign in. In/Out is ok, because most of the time you know when
> you are signed in or out.
>
> As to the guidelines, take a look at windows vista user experience
> guidelines: http://tinyurl.com/s842d. Its for vista but a lot is usful
> when it comes to WinXP as well.
>
>
> / Håkan Reis
> Dotway AB
> http://blog.reis.se
>
> PS, why do I always hit reply and not reply all in IxDA discussions...
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss en ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists en ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

27 Oct 2006 - 1:16pm
Josh
2006

Sign In/Sign Out feels a bit more personal than Login/Logout, like signing a
guestbook at a wedding, signing in when getting a hotel room, or signing in
when going to an exclusive spa. I agree that the Sign In/Sign Out/Sign Up
may be a bit confusing to some users at a glance. "Join" may be a good
option. Adding some small imagery to distinguish between Sign In and "Join"
can be helpful to distinguish between calls to action.

Josh Viney
EastMedia Group

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