Consistent Usage of Log In/Log Out versus Login/Logout

10 Aug 2009 - 3:44pm
7 years ago
4 replies
4530 reads
Svetlin Denkov

Greetings to all!

I have noticed that many sites utilize inconsistent label terminology
for links allowing a user to enter/exit an online account (be it an
e-commerce site, e-mail system, etc.).

I would expect that since these labels describe an action initiated
by the user (rather than a state), verbs and not nouns must be used:
Log In/Log Out, not Login/Logout.

However, often I see the following combination: Login (noun used to
enter) and Log Out (verb used to exit).

In your opinion, what do you think is the best label combination and


11 Aug 2009 - 2:29am
Paulo Marques

I think the best combination is the verb form "Log in / Log out",
when applied strictly to a computing paradigm.

"Sign in / Sign out" are also correct, but I feel they are more
related to radio communications for instance. However this works
nicely with social networking websites.

I also prefer "Out/In" as opposed to "Off/On" but this is more of
a personal taste, I think both ways are valid.

So, about using nouns, I agree with you. So if your buttons are
labeled with verbs (as they should be), then the login button should
read %u201Clog in,%u201D not %u201Clogin.%u201D

i.e. Use the login button labeled %u201CLog in%u201D to log in with
your login.


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Posted from the new

11 Aug 2009 - 1:05pm
Sarah Weise

There have been several postings about this topic on IXDA this year,
evaluating Log In/Log Out vs. Log in/Log out vs. Login/Logout vs.
Sign In/Sign Out vs. Sign in/Sign out.

Research shows us that small words written in title case (first
letter of each word is capitalized) - instead of sentence case (only
the first letter of the first word is capitalized) - are easier to
read. Therefore, I'd recommend either Log In/Log Out or Sign In/Sign

I tend to go with Log In/Log Out because it's just slightly shorter
than Sign In/Sign Out, but some people on this forum have stated that
they perceive Sign In/Sign Out to be more personal (have not seen
research on this though).

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Posted from the new

11 Aug 2009 - 2:50pm
Svetlin Denkov

I agree with both of you, Sarah and Paulo. Log In/Log Out seems to be
the most logical choice.

Paulo, I believe Log In/Log Out describes an account, whereas Sign
In/Out describes a service at an account.

It is incomprehensible to me why some sites still persist in mixing
the noun and verb forms. This is a really poor user experience.

Though, I doubt many users notice the difference in the end.

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Posted from the new

11 Aug 2009 - 3:42pm
Caroline Jarrett

Sarah Weise:

<snip - ref to previous threads>
> Research shows us that small words
> written in title case (first
> letter of each word is capitalized) -
> instead of sentence case (only
> the first letter of the first word is capitalized)
> - are easier to read.

<snip - suggestions>

Could you quote the reference(s) for the research?

This is exactly the opposite of what I've been quoting for ages - although,
frustratingly, I'm away from my library right now and can't give you the

But as an Example, Just Try Reading This Piece of Text Where I've Put the
Whole Thing into Title Case. Do You Find It Easier to Read Than the Usual
Way of Writing in Sentence Case?

Pedantic note starts here:
Also, note that title case (in classic typography) isn't the same as
capitalizing the first letter of every word. For example, the Chicago Manual
of Style says: -Lowercase all articles, coordinate conjunctions ("and",
"or", "nor"), and prepositions regardless of length, when they are other
than the
first or last word. -Lowercase the "to" in an infinitive." (Well, I hope it
does. Like I said, I'm away from my library and this was from the best quote
I could find quickly by searching).
End of pedantic note.

I realise that the term 'title case' has become a shorthand for capitalising
the first letter of every word for many (probably most) people by now.

Actually, maybe this whole reply is tediously pedantic. But I'm genuinely
keen on finding that research if possible.

Caroline Jarrett
"Forms that work: Designing web forms for usability"

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