Words

Whose Interface?

Everything a user interacts with is technically theirs, but would “my” or “your” make more sense? More often than not, we prefer neither.

Neutral vs. Your vs. My

Read John Saito’s excellent post for a summary of the issue.

Hudl’s stance on how to orient a UI toward users’ content, features, etc., goes like this:

  • By default, remain neutral (i.e., don’t say “your” or “my” or use any possessive pronoun) if possible. This should work at least 80% of the time.
  • If some form of pronoun is required based on evidence (e.g., convincing qual/quant data), use “your” (e.g., Your Playbook). This should cover you another 19% of the time.
  • If the previous options fail to provide adequate clarity, “my” could be considered, but consult Design Ops before moving forward.

This vs. That and These vs. Those

These/those are the plural forms of this/that and behave in the same way. This is used to identify a nearby person, thing or experience. That refers to the more distant of two things or a specific thing previously mentioned.

If you need to refer to an element on the same screen, use “this” and “these” (e.g., “No results found for these filters.”).