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When displaying menu options to a user on a website.

When should I label links as

My Profile

or

Your Profile

I have several other links such as <My/Your> Likes and <My/Your> Files, etc..

closed as off-topic by Kris, Hellion, TrevorD, tchrist, choster Aug 28 '13 at 5:23

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it belongs on UX.SE – Kris Aug 27 '13 at 6:18
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It depends upon how you construct the rest of the web site.

"My Profile" suggests a site that is constructed with the idea that the user has invidiual membership to the site, and that the visiting user understands that "my" refers to themselves, and not any third party.

"Your" implies the site itself as an individual, assigning specific parts of the site that the user has owership of as 'yours' rather than beloning to the site.

There is also a third option that you haven't considered, and ironically so since the StackExchange site makes through use of it - simply refer to the user's own user name.

In the end, the use of "My" or "Your" to refer to a specific user's profile, in terms of site-building, comes down to personal preference. There are some specific cases where one or the other would be more grammatically correct, but in most cases where you'll be using it, either one would be acceptable.

  • Zibbo bz, since it seems you are an expert of these things, could there be the simple option to not write neither "my" nor "your"? – user19148 Aug 26 '13 at 16:27
  • @why do you think that even stack uses "my" not often? At least to me, it seems to be true or unfalse the contrary. – user19148 Aug 26 '13 at 16:34
  • @Carlo_R, it's not quite as visible, so I didn't realize it was using it, though now that WDYTTIT has pointed it out, I can see it is! And yes, actually, just omitting the word "My" and "Your" entirely could work, though it might also feel less personal that way. It would still be entirely up to the designer which to use. – Zibbobz Aug 26 '13 at 16:42
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This would be a better question for the user experience SE, in particular this question that is basically the same thing as your question. To quote the guide the top answer quoted:

  • “Use the second person (you, your) to tell users what to do.” So use second person for error messages, help, window or page labels, on-page documentation, and other places where the app is telling the user about the user’s content.
  • “Use the first person (I, me, my) to let users tell the program what to do.” So use first person for buttons, menu items, and other controls where the user commands the app.

There are lots of other questions there that are very related.

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The idea behind most interactive websites is that the user has a personalised account. If the purpose of displaying the user's data summary is for the users benefit, it would be advisable to use my. Stack exchange uses "my".

When online shopping, a user views "my" cart, my account, my contact details. In effect it is representing the user's possessions, shopping history, favorites, logins, for instance. Even within educational institutions, the user has their personalised access to the learning wiki. The purpose of these types of website is for the users experience.

The exception would be, when a user is relying on the services of a website, as an authority. An illustration of this is a website is providing medical test results. The website, the expert, has provided data for the user; essentially the website is the author of that data and is sharing this with the user. This contrasts to the idea behind, for example, social networking sites. The user is the original creator of that data, and the website is merely formatting it so the user can keep track of it more easily.

Whichever choice you do make, it is important to be consistent and maintain the same form throughout the website, so as not to cause confusion for the user.

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    Consistency is absolutely key, a point which I completely missed in my own answer. Referring to one thing as "My Profile", but referring to "Your Profile Picture" on the same site (or even worse, the same page) looks unprofessional and inconsistent. – Zibbobz Aug 26 '13 at 16:44

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