If you say Log out, log me out

You’ve logged into your on-line banking checked your balance, paid your bills.  What do you do now?  Click on the logout button?

What do you expect will happen now?  Well given that you have actively chosen to log-out (it’s not something you are likely to click on my mistake), you’d expect to do exactly that.  Logout.  The next screen you get will probably be something that thanks you for on-line banking, with a cross sell for a product or two.

That’s what I assume most customers would expect.  So what are Alliance and Leicester thinking about with this screen?

The customer has clicked log-out but they are still logged in?


“You are still logged in to Internet Banking – before you go have a look at Your offers.”

Excuse me, I logged out, I don’t need to be logged in for you to show me offers.

Worse: “Are you sure you want to log out?”

OF COURSE I WANT TO LOG OUT!!! Why else would I have clicked the link.

Alliance and Leicester fail here in a fundamental usability rule, that of managing the customer’s expectation. In an application where security isn’t paramount this would be an error, in an application where customers expect their action of leaving their secure accounts will do exactly that… but doesn’t, is inexcusable.


  1. unclemalc · Tuesday, 30 June, 2009

    Interesting comments.

    Shame you chose to disguise the facts. Try writing the article again without any truths hidden and I’m sure it will read differently

    You manage to ignore the fact that the log out button actually takes you to an activity summary screen (yes with complimentary advertising) which summarises what you did when you logged on. Not a perfect solution I agree but forcing customers to heck what they have done is invauable to me. Who would check otherwise!

  2. marc · Tuesday, 30 June, 2009

    Thanks for your comment. I take your point and indeed should have noted that there is a summary of the customer’s activity on that page. I agree that the summary is useful. But it is of secondary importance in the page hierarchy. It is beneath the page fold and easily missed. If they’d placed the activity summary at the top of the page then this post would not have been written. But it isn’t. The primary focus of the page is the advertising and that IMHO is wrong.

  3. jay · Wednesday, 1 July, 2009

    I agree it’s an interesting topic for discussion, but I’m actually ok with the “are you sure” conformation.

    Although, I think I might argue that the need for “log out” goes away in most cases if you put a “(don’t) remember this session” option when I log in.

    I would also point out that I want them to know who I am when they show me offers, i.e. I have to be logged in so that I see relevant offers. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was when Facebook (which knew full well that I was married, and to whom) kept showing me ads for singles…

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