A Guide to ‘My’ and ‘Your’ in UX Writing and Content Design

Ah, microcopy.

Those tiny bits of text that can either make your user interface a dream or a disaster. One of the most debated topics in this realm is whether to use “your” or “my.”

It’s like choosing between tea and coffee; both have their merits, but the choice can significantly affect the user’s experience. So, let’s spill the tea (or coffee) on this.


A Tale of Two Perspectives

In the Medium article “Is this my interface or yours?“, John Saito dives deep into the psychology behind “my” and “your.”


Using “my” makes the product feel like an extension of the user, emphasizing¬† personalization and ownership.


On the other hand, “your” gives the impression that the product is a helpful assistant, guiding you through tasks.


The article from UX Movement, “When to Use ‘Your’ or ‘My’ on Menu Items“, adds another layer to this cake.


It talks about “customized” vs. “personalized” experiences. If the interface customizes something for the user, go with “your.” If the user personalizes it, “my” is your best bet.


Key Takeaways:

  • “My” for Ownership: Use when the user has control or ownership. For example, “My Playlist” in a music app.


  • “Your” for Guidance: Use when the product is guiding or customizing the experience for the user. Like, “Your Recommended Reads” in a book app.


A Conversational Interface

Let’s talk about Mark, our imaginary interface. If Mark says, “Here are my top picks for you,” it’s like Mark owns those recommendations.


But if you create a playlist, Mark would chime in with, “Awesome, I’ve saved your playlist!” See the difference? You made the playlist; it’s your baby, not Mark’s.


Practical Examples: A Closer Look

Imagine you’re designing a fitness app. If the app generates a workout plan based on the user’s input, it could say, “Your Daily Workout.” But if the user creates a custom workout, it would be more appropriate to label it as “My Custom Workout.”


Here’s another one. Think about an email client. The inbox could be labeled “My Inbox” because the user owns those emails.


But what about the spam folder? Since the app filters these emails, it could be labeled as “Your Spam Folder.”


Wrapping It Up: Final Nuggets of Wisdom


1. User Perspective Matters: Think about how you want the user to perceive the interface. Is it an extension of them or a separate entity?


2. Clarity Trumps Brevity: Sometimes, you can’t afford to skip “my” or “your” without causing confusion.


3. User Testing is King: When in doubt, test it out. User feedback can be a goldmine.


So, are you Team “My,” Team “Your,” or Team “Let’s Ditch Both”? Your choice can make or break the user experience, so choose wisely!

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