Where Do You Send Users When They Log In to Your App?

Here’s a nice lesson for web app designers and developers, to help streamline the user’s progress when interacting with your application.

In many cases, it’s enough to log users in and then redirect them to the main screen of the app, where they can then choose what they want to do. It’s also good practice to send them back to whatever screen they were on before they logged in, instead of just sending them to the main screen.

But here’s a way to handle a user log-in when the user has not yet interacted with your pages, as shown below from PayPal:

PayPal's streamlined log-in

PayPal’s application doesn’t let you interact with it unless you’re logged in (for obvious reasons). It’s not like a shopping cart website that let’s you browse and put stuff in your cart without being logged in. In the case of PayPal, you have to be logged in to do anything associated with your account.

So, they’ve added a simple little feature in the form of a <select> element drop-down, that allows you to choose which area of the application you want to go to first.

I think this is a good example of something small added to the log-in process, that’s not mandatory, but helps the user get things done as quickly as possible. Of course, some might argue that it might slow down first-time users, but in a case like PayPal, I think it’s more important to focus on returning visitors who make up a huge amount of their traffic.

15 Responses

  1. For most sites, I don’t think this would be necessary. Though in a few cases I can see it being useful.

  2. I really don’t see this being useful at all, even in Paypal’s case. Throwing in the select box on the login form violates users expectations. When someone logs into a website, they expect to type [username]>[tab]>[password]>[enter]. Adding the select box throws off the rhythm, whether visually, practically or both. Presenting the user with an in-app navigation element as soon as they are logged in takes the same number of clicks to get to where the user wants to go. No need to ask someone a question that they weren’t expecting to answer.

    • You may be right.

      I can say, however, that in my experience using PayPal, I do use that drop-down and it gives me the perception that I’m getting things done quicker. Of course, I could be wrong, but then that brings up the issue of perceived speed vs. actual page speed.

    • Bryan Paterson says:

      Having this select box doesn’t remove the [username][password] interface you’ve described. It defaults to my account so anyone who wants to type in their info and hit enter is free to do so.

      What this does, is allow someone to go directly into their transaction list. Sure it’s the same number of clicks but it’s one less page load – which is good for both PayPal and the user.

    • Ryan says:

      Couldn’t you simply set the tab order for the form items to allow for this?

  3. Daniel S says:

    Nice question, but i think that a dashboard is made for this execution. The dashboard informs the user about stuff that is interesting.

  4. Deepak says:

    Have seen this case being used in ICICIbank website.

  5. unreal4u says:

    I do send them to main screen if users were not visiting a page before logged out or access a directly a page.

    I do however like the idea, it could speed things up. Once logged in, you must navigate with your mouse if you don’t want to do infinite tabs. In here, it is just another “tab” and some arrows or the first letters of your landing page, which I found quicker to do.

  6. Seth says:

    When I log in, I want to be taken to where I was. If I was on the home page, then you could probably take me to my account, since it should be really easy to get back to the home page. This is the logic I use when redirecting my users upon logging in.

    • Bogdan Pop says:

      Yeah, but with PayPal, you can’t be somewhere in your account before you login, so it would take you back to the homepage. That select can be helpful, especially because PayPal’s login process is so slow.

  7. Josh Emerson says:

    On Fontdeck we have whitelisted several pages so that a user will return to the page after logging in. It’s a nice way to avoid disruption from page flow.

  8. Kavya Hari says:

    From here, you given a wonderful description about log in pay pal. Thanks a lot for sharing it Louis.

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