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I'm writing the text for the order form of the website. The users are suppose to select their preferences with regard to ads and banners which they want to publish on the website.

My question is about the word "Please" when guiding the user through the order process. I checked other websites and everyone is using it differently. Should I or shouldn't I use for each step "Please" within the text?

Example:

  1. Step 1. "Please" select one of the [...]
  2. Step 2. "Please" select the menu language [...]

or would it be enough to go for :

  1. Step 1. Select one of the [...]
  2. Step 2. Select menu language

I don't want that it sounds like an order to the users but can't "feel" how it sounds for native English speaking users.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by tchrist, FumbleFingers, MετάEd, TrevorD, Rory Alsop Jul 24 '13 at 2:03

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Don’t say please. –  tchrist Jul 23 '13 at 18:32
    
Teo, I agree with @tchrist, don't say "please" and, at the second step, don't say "pleaase", otherwise the user expects to read "pleaaase" at the third step, and so forth :) –  user19148 Jul 23 '13 at 18:36
1  
@Carlo_R. lol! And then it just takes on a sense of pleading! :-D –  Kristina Lopez Jul 23 '13 at 18:48
3  
@Carlo_R. Well, if that's what it takes to make them happy glaaaadly ;-) –  Teo Jul 23 '13 at 18:52
    
Teo, +1 & lol & yup! –  user19148 Jul 23 '13 at 18:55

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It really depends. In my opinion unless you're talking about some kind of delay, skip it. Americans may often find it condescending or superfluous.

The only place I'd see it being beneficial is if you're asking them to wait for something.

Example: Please wait 24 hours while we process your paperwork.

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Jacob, intersting & +1, but how can "Please" be interpreted in "Please, wait 2400 hours while we process your paperwork"? –  user19148 Jul 23 '13 at 18:26
1  
@Carlo_R: I don't really understand your question. I didn't mean 2400 hours. In the US it's really common to say that something will be done in 24-72 hours meaning 1-3 days from the given submission time. "Please" is often used here because people are impatient and we think of computers as being immediate. Using the word please adds a human element to it and makes people feel like even though they have to wait they're still valued/it will happen. –  Jacobm001 Jul 23 '13 at 18:30
    
Jacob, thank you for so a great explanation, but so, if you have more than 72 hours to wait, is not it better to drop the "Please"? Pardon for my Inglish (=Italian English)! –  user19148 Jul 23 '13 at 18:33
    
@Carlo_R: No, I was just saying that those were very common examples. I would say a good rule would be to add Please anytime the user has to wait for something for any length of time. Example: Please be patient while we analyse you application. This could take 1-2 weeks. It's not really the timeframe that's important, it's the acknowledgement of their patience. The timeframe is usually for your benefit as it keeps people from constantly bothering you for updates and calms their nerves. Does that make more sense? –  Jacobm001 Jul 23 '13 at 18:37
    
Jacob, yes, you have been very kind to answer my comments, thank you and stay with us. We are a great community where it make sense to stay. –  user19148 Jul 23 '13 at 18:40

I suggest not using “Please” if your form comprises multiple steps. For example, it would be a bit awkward if your order process looked like this:

  1. Please select a menu language
  2. Please select an appetizer
  3. Please select an entrée

It may be preferable to instead use different verbs for each step, thereby toning down the repetitiveness:

  1. Select a menu language
  2. Choose an appetizer
  3. Pick an entrée
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I agree in general with the comments and with the two previous answers. The only additional qualification I would make it that it may depend on your expected primary audience.

I certainly would not include "Please" for European or N. American audiences.

I am aware, however, that in some Asian cultures 'formal politeness' is much more common and its omission may seem blunt or even rude. So I would qualify the advice to omit "please", by suggesting that if your intended or expected audience is primarily worldwide, European or N. American, then, yes, omit "please". If your expected audience is primarily an Asian culture, then you should perhaps consider what is expected by your audience.

In any case, you ought to be able to have made a judgment on this issue yourself simply by looking at other comparable websites!

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Right. That’s why you see all those Asian web pages with their Please Submit and Please Enter and Please Save Edits and Please Cancel and Please Send and Please Contact Us and Please Mail and Please About and Please OK and Please Yourself buttons. :) –  tchrist Jul 24 '13 at 1:14

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