Why is the “log in” button always hidden so good?

And why does it bother me so much?

A couple of days ago, I wanted to log in into my Mailchimp account, as I usually do, and saw this:

This is the normal welcome page of Mailchimp. I love almost everything these guys do, but this time something really bothered me. Mailchimp disconnects me after my session ends, and it’s fine, but when I just want to log in to my account and manage my newsletter’s campaigns, what I see is actually this:

See this tiny pink rectangle? Those two 13px words? That’s my call-to-action. I mean, I don’t want to sound like a spoiled kid who doesn’t get the attention he wanted and cries, but it kinda made me feel this way.

As the restless adventurer I am, I went on a long journey, through several welcome pages and tried to figure out what’s going on. At the end of this journey I had a page full of sketches of 9 welcome pages of the big sites I know:

Now, I want to be fair: Not all of the sites I checked discriminated the log in button (for example dribbble and Behance), but the general trend was pretty clear: The sign up button is much more important than the sign in.

Why?

I get it. After thinking and asking my colleagues (Thanks, guys at Inkod Hypera Ltd.!) There are some pretty good reasons to prefer the sign up button in the welcome page:

  1. Signed users don’t usually see the welcome page
  2. A website’s KPI (Key Performance Indicator) is measured in users signing up (Facebook, for instance, makes 5 new users every second. Now that’s impressive!)
  3. The “log in” button is often located in the corner, where the “profile” button is located.

All three reasons are good, but they’re just annoying me. I still feel like calling a friend (let’s say Joe) and being answered with a “Hello, my name is Joe. It’s nice to meet you! Would you like to be my friend?”, instead of a regular “Hello?”, that leaves a place for me to say “Hey, it’s Omri. What’s up?”.

It reminds me of a lecture I’ve heard about the making of a movie. Nowadays, movies are all about the buzz. You want to create a big buzz around the movie, advertising and making it the coolest, so when it comes out people will run to the movie theatre and watch it. The thing is, after seeing the movie, once, at the first week, no one will come back to see the movie again, and the movie probably won’t stay in theatre for a long time. The same goes here — once you sign up, your place is in the tiny upper-right corner.

Maybe there’s another way?

I felt like if this subject’s bothering me so much, the least I can do is think about a way to change this. Three ways, to be exact. Respecting the 3 excellent reasons for the current situation, I didn’t change a lot. I just wanted to add a little “Welcome back” to the welcome page:

First option: The tiny corner makeover:

Hey, you look familiar!

I made the log in link a button and added a little bit of color to it, making it a bit more noticeable. Also, I wanted to add a little spark to the interaction — If you’re already signed up, you should be treated in a friendly way!

Second option: The “Wait a second, is that you?”

Wait, Are you already signed up?

The sign up button is bigger, of course, than the log in button, but still, in the same breath, there’s a place for signed up users to log in. Also, the microcopy is, again, friendly.

Third option: The pretty loud “do I know you” sign

Are you already signed up?

This change doesn’t alter the existing flow, but it does make the log in option pretty clear.

I didn’t change the place of any object in the screen, because I know every part of it was tested and checked a thousand times before me, but I do think there’s a place for making it a bit better.

Conclusion time

Although it isn’t a huge disaster, I feel log in buttons can be a bit better than they are now. Signed up users can be logged in through other computers, private browsing, their cookies can be deleted and much more. So, I think there’s a little effort here that could be done and make a fine experience excellent.

What do you think? Have you ever stumbled upon this issue? Have any better solution for it? Tell me about it in the comments!