Use of "Your" or "My" in Personalized Web Application Design

13 Feb 2007 - 9:44am
7 years ago
12 replies
656 reads
Patrick Hunt
2005

Howdy ya'll,

So does anyone have strong feelings--or better yet, research--about
whether its better to use "Your" or "My" to describe personalized
stuff in web application design? I'm working with a client who has
made extensive use of "Your" and I have this gut sense that "My" would
be better... more personal, more of a dialog between company and user,
more common and familiar... But before I recommed such a change, I was
wondering about others' thoughts and whether there was any research
done on the topic (and whether I should actually make such a
recommendation). ;-)

Thanks!

Patrick

Comments

13 Feb 2007 - 11:21am
Stewart Dean
2004

Hi Patrick,

First think I'd ask youself is if you need personalisation at all. I've killed off many a 'my' section in my time through new builds and redesigns due to the effort involved in creating them and their inability, in most cases, to deliver on the idea behind them. Personalisation requires a lot of work in behalf of the user, especially when you use concepts such as collabroative filtering.

It is very very difficult to own users and very few sites can have users using a section so much as it feels like it's theirs and not just a rearranged display of the suppliers content.

In the majority of cases 'Your', in my view, is the right term. It's an honest declaration that a service is being provided for a person.

My indicates a personal space that is of a users own creation. it is more personal but for most sites overly personal to the point of being condisending.

I've debated this before. Asking users appears to show a liking for 'my' over 'your', but I'm weiry of asking about things like this directly and in isolation.

Stewart Dean
> Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 09:44:35 -0500> From: tragichipster at gmail.com> To: discuss at ixda.org> Subject: [IxDA Discuss] Use of "Your" or "My" in Personalized Web Application Design> > Howdy ya'll,> > So does anyone have strong feelings--or better yet, research--about> whether its better to use "Your" or "My" to describe personalized> stuff in web application design? I'm working with a client who has> made extensive use of "Your" and I have this gut sense that "My" would> be better... more personal, more of a dialog between company and user,> more common and familiar... But before I recommed such a change, I was> wondering about others' thoughts and whether there was any research> done on the topic (and whether I should actually make such a> recommendation). ;-)> > Thanks!> > Patrick> ________________________________________________________________> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!> To post to this list ....... discuss at 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 at ixda.org> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

13 Feb 2007 - 1:26pm
Nasir Barday
2006

Funny you mention this-- I'm actually waiting for a Product Developer
to get back to me about a design I did involving "My" for
personalization. This very minute.

We've all kind of settled on "My" as a standard way to indicate
personal options. I suppose it's all about how you want to frame the
dialog. Where does the boundary between the firm/provider and the user
lie? If we use"Your," we extend the boundary of the system all the way
to the user's desktop. But if we say "My," the personalized data lies
on the user's side of the interaction, which is why when she
manipulates it, she "owns" the information.

And if you want to strip that emotion altogether, you can just drop
the My/Your modifier. e.g. "My Favorites" --> "Favorites." Less
mushiness, if your client is after that.

I agree with Stewart's notion of evaluating whether the
personalization is needed at all-- sometimes sites go overboard with
giving users control, copping out of design decisions by making them
preferences, or burdening users with content organization.

- Nasir

13 Feb 2007 - 1:27pm
Nasir Barday
2006

To clarify, when I say "we've all kind of settled on 'my'" I mean my
firm, not the mailing list.

- Nasir

On 2/13/07, Nasir Barday <nasir at userlicious.com> wrote:
> Funny you mention this-- I'm actually waiting for a Product Developer
> to get back to me about a design I did involving "My" for
> personalization. This very minute.
>
> We've all kind of settled on "My" as a standard way to indicate
> personal options. I suppose it's all about how you want to frame the
> dialog. Where does the boundary between the firm/provider and the user
> lie? If we use"Your," we extend the boundary of the system all the way
> to the user's desktop. But if we say "My," the personalized data lies
> on the user's side of the interaction, which is why when she
> manipulates it, she "owns" the information.
>
> And if you want to strip that emotion altogether, you can just drop
> the My/Your modifier. e.g. "My Favorites" --> "Favorites." Less
> mushiness, if your client is after that.
>
> I agree with Stewart's notion of evaluating whether the
> personalization is needed at all-- sometimes sites go overboard with
> giving users control, copping out of design decisions by making them
> preferences, or burdening users with content organization.
>
> - Nasir
>

13 Feb 2007 - 1:49pm
Alvin Tan
2006

Like Joan and Steward, I also find "your" to be the right term. I'm working
on a web project right now and have used "Your Profile" instead of "My
profile".

Alvin

On 2/14/07, Nasir Barday <nasir at userlicious.com> wrote:
>
> To clarify, when I say "we've all kind of settled on 'my'" I mean my
> firm, not the mailing list.
>
> - Nasir
>
>
> On 2/13/07, Nasir Barday <nasir at userlicious.com> wrote:
> > Funny you mention this-- I'm actually waiting for a Product Developer
> > to get back to me about a design I did involving "My" for
> > personalization. This very minute.
> >
> > We've all kind of settled on "My" as a standard way to indicate
> > personal options. I suppose it's all about how you want to frame the
> > dialog. Where does the boundary between the firm/provider and the user
> > lie? If we use"Your," we extend the boundary of the system all the way
> > to the user's desktop. But if we say "My," the personalized data lies
> > on the user's side of the interaction, which is why when she
> > manipulates it, she "owns" the information.
> >
> > And if you want to strip that emotion altogether, you can just drop
> > the My/Your modifier. e.g. "My Favorites" --> "Favorites." Less
> > mushiness, if your client is after that.
> >
> > I agree with Stewart's notion of evaluating whether the
> > personalization is needed at all-- sometimes sites go overboard with
> > giving users control, copping out of design decisions by making them
> > preferences, or burdening users with content organization.
> >
> > - Nasir
> >
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
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>

13 Feb 2007 - 1:51pm
Josh
2006

We went through this debate a while back at my former employer. The site was
built around the idea of bringing people together (online personals
industry), so we decided to draw clear lines between what was the Company's,
what was the signed in user's, and what was other user's.

The Company was referred to by Name or "We"
We used "You/Your" to refer to data/functionality that the user
added/created
We used "Me/My" to refer to data/functionality that other user's
added/created

If we had made the decision to go with "My" instead of "Your", it would have
removed the Company from the equation and reduced the marketability of the
services we were actively providing.

For a contrasting view, see Myspace.

- Josh

13 Feb 2007 - 2:18pm
Todd Warfel
2003

My Yahoo! My AOL. The list goes on.

On Feb 13, 2007, at 1:51 PM, Josh Viney wrote:

> For a contrasting view, see Myspace.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Partner, Design & Usability Specialist
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

13 Feb 2007 - 2:44pm
bryan.haggerty ...
2005

Whether it is "My" or "Your", one thing to be mindful of is the over
use of such labels. Especially the case for navigation. Since we got
on to social networks, Facebook is a classic example of the over use
of "My" in their navigation.

My Profile
My Friends
My Photos
My Groups
My ........

Employing such labeling reduces the scanability of navigation
elements.

Bryan Haggerty
User Experience Designer
JPMorgan Chase: IB Risk Management

13 Feb 2007 - 3:01pm
Brian LeRoux
2006

I lean towards 'Your' because a software application should itself
embody a persona and speak to the end user.

The end user's data is their data after all and as such the use of
'My' is inappropriate if we consider the software itself to have a
voice. Think about the numerous examples where software speaks to a
user: content, dialogs, alerts, confirmations, updates, errors
.....the list goes on. Each of these facets of the user interface need
language and tone appropriate to speaking to the user to enable them
to take the appropriate action. If our software is speaking to the
user we can agree it needs to have a unique voice and tone---saying
"To change your settings navigate to My Profile..." sounds more like
the software is speaking about its own profile and not the users. It
reads much better if we say, "To change your settings navigate to Your
Profile..."

That's how I think about it anyhow.

On 2/13/07, bryan.haggerty at gmail.com <bryan.haggerty at gmail.com> wrote:
> Whether it is "My" or "Your", one thing to be mindful of is the over
> use of such labels. Especially the case for navigation. Since we got
> on to social networks, Facebook is a classic example of the over use
> of "My" in their navigation.
>
> My Profile
> My Friends
> My Photos
> My Groups
> My ........
>
> Employing such labeling reduces the scanability of navigation
> elements.
>
> Bryan Haggerty
> User Experience Designer
> JPMorgan Chase: IB Risk Management
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at 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 at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

13 Feb 2007 - 3:06pm
dcooney at umich.edu
2006

You could also consider using the name of the individual using the
service, so, "Patrick Hunt's Profile" or put all the personalized
material in a "Patrick Hunt's Account" area.

Dan "MyCooney" Cooney

Quoting Patrick Hunt <tragichipster at gmail.com>:

> Howdy ya'll,
>
> So does anyone have strong feelings--or better yet, research--about
> whether its better to use "Your" or "My" to describe personalized
> stuff in web application design? I'm working with a client who has
> made extensive use of "Your" and I have this gut sense that "My" would
> be better... more personal, more of a dialog between company and user,
> more common and familiar... But before I recommed such a change, I was
> wondering about others' thoughts and whether there was any research
> done on the topic (and whether I should actually make such a
> recommendation). ;-)
>
> Thanks!
>
> Patrick

13 Feb 2007 - 4:33pm
Anonymous

This is where my team is currently going, and where my own feelings lie.

With the increase in 2.0-style sites, an awful lot of web pages will
now be explaining and offering functionality to the user. Pages that
offer more rich interaction especially face this: the pages requires
a higher level of dialogue between system/site and user, and that
tends to need a voice in which to do the addressing saying what "you"
can do and what "you" can enable, data that "you" can pull in, etc.
The switch from 2nd person to 1st ( as mentioned below) didn't make
sense to me, either from a purely semantic grammatical perspective
nor for the goal of minimized user confusion.

Daniel

On Feb 13, 2007, at 12:01 PM, Brian LeRoux wrote:

> I lean towards 'Your' because a software application should itself
> embody a persona and speak to the end user.
>
> The end user's data is their data after all and as such the use of
> 'My' is inappropriate if we consider the software itself to have a
> voice. Think about the numerous examples where software speaks to a
> user: content, dialogs, alerts, confirmations, updates, errors
> .....the list goes on. Each of these facets of the user interface need
> language and tone appropriate to speaking to the user to enable them
> to take the appropriate action. If our software is speaking to the
> user we can agree it needs to have a unique voice and tone---saying
> "To change your settings navigate to My Profile..." sounds more like
> the software is speaking about its own profile and not the users. It
> reads much better if we say, "To change your settings navigate to Your
> Profile..."
>
> That's how I think about it anyhow.
>
>
>
> On 2/13/07, bryan.haggerty at gmail.com <bryan.haggerty at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Whether it is "My" or "Your", one thing to be mindful of is the over
>> use of such labels. Especially the case for navigation. Since we got
>> on to social networks, Facebook is a classic example of the over use
>> of "My" in their navigation.
>>
>> My Profile
>> My Friends
>> My Photos
>> My Groups
>> My ........
>>
>> Employing such labeling reduces the scanability of navigation
>> elements.
>>
>> Bryan Haggerty
>> User Experience Designer
>> JPMorgan Chase: IB Risk Management
>>
>> ________________________________________________________________
>> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
>> To post to this list ....... discuss at 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 at ixda.org
>> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
>> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at 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 at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

_______________________________________________
Daniel Montiel
Information Architect

408.569.3607 : mob | torrentprime : aim

"Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on
the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You didn't place your
hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

14 Feb 2007 - 4:47am
Stewart Dean
2004

What is worth noting about these 'my' sites is that they attempt to be the point you launch from. Myspace I think earns the 'my' label by allowing a very high degree of personalisation, including the obligatory pimping of your space. My Yahoo and My Aol are old school personalisation efforts (pick from a list to build up a page).

Flirkr uses your, as does Amazon (your account). It's worth noting that the personalised results on amazon are given your name.

In my view a 'your' site is like a retaurant whilst a 'my' site is self catering.

Cheers

Stewart Dean
> From: lists at toddwarfel.com> Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 14:18:06 -0500> To: jviney at gmail.com> CC: discuss at ixda.org> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Use of "Your" or "My" in Personalized Web Application Design> > My Yahoo! My AOL. The list goes on.> > On Feb 13, 2007, at 1:51 PM, Josh Viney wrote:> > > For a contrasting view, see Myspace.> > > Cheers!> > Todd Zaki Warfel> Partner, Design & Usability Specialist> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.> ----------------------------------> Contact Info> Voice: (215) 825-7423> Email: todd at messagefirst.com> AIM: twarfel at mac.com> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com> ----------------------------------> In theory, theory and practice are the same.> In practice, they are not.> > > ________________________________________________________________> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!> To post to this list ....... discuss at 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 at ixda.org> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org

14 Feb 2007 - 8:21am
jstrande
2007

Has anyone looked into the internationalization of 'My' vs. 'Your'? Do
they have any cultural differences? Are there languages or cultures
where one of them loses meaning?

I lean towards My, simply because it is a person sitting at the other
end of what is being created - therefore it is personal. I'm fully
aware that the next statement is going to come off as a bit anal,
however, I also really prefer the term "person" instead of the
generic, less human, term "user" - when thought about in those terms,
My Account is what they're after, Your Account is what you offer them
access to. It is the difference between thinking in terms of the
people consuming what you provide and thinking in systems terms.

Was that too anal? ;-)

As for the personalized results being given someones name (Jon's Plog
on amazon, as an example), I've always thought that was a tad
strange... if there are multiple people, sure, it would make sense:

> Tom's Plog
> Jon's Plog
> Mary's Plog
Etc.

But when it is just a single person, it is mine. My Plog. It doesn't
belong to anyone else.

All that having been said, context is everything here. If the My vs.
Your is written in the form of a statement, like someone else pointed
out, it would make sense to write: "You get access to your account
information" - that is a description and My wouldn't make any sense
(obviously).

My $0.02 cents.

Jon

On 2/14/07, Stewart Dean <stew8dean at hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>
> What is worth noting about these 'my' sites is that they attempt to be the point you launch from. Myspace I think earns the 'my' label by allowing a very high degree of personalisation, including the obligatory pimping of your space. My Yahoo and My Aol are old school personalisation efforts (pick from a list to build up a page).
>
> Flirkr uses your, as does Amazon (your account). It's worth noting that the personalised results on amazon are given your name.
>
> In my view a 'your' site is like a retaurant whilst a 'my' site is self catering.
>
> Cheers
>
> Stewart Dean
> > From: lists at toddwarfel.com> Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 14:18:06 -0500> To: jviney at gmail.com> CC: discuss at ixda.org> Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Use of "Your" or "My" in Personalized Web Application Design> > My Yahoo! My AOL. The list goes on.> > On Feb 13, 2007, at 1:51 PM, Josh Viney wrote:> > > For a contrasting view, see Myspace.> > > Cheers!> > Todd Zaki Warfel> Partner, Design & Usability Specialist> Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.> ----------------------------------> Contact Info> Voice: (215) 825-7423> Email: todd at messagefirst.com> AIM: twarfel at mac.com> Blog: http://toddwarfel.com> ----------------------------------> In theory, theory and practice are the same.> In practice, they are not.> > > ________________________________________________________________> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!> To post to this list ....... discuss at 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 at ixda.org> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at 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 at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

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