[Theforum] [survey] detail answers to question 9

.jeff jeff at members.evolt.org
Thu Dec 13 22:40:58 CST 2001


> From: Madhu Menon
> I generally dislike my.anysite.com for reasons that
> are well outlined in this article:
> http://www.peterme.com/index081098.html

no offense, but i think the author of that bit needs some therapy.  it reads
like it's coming from someone with childhood bonding issues.

think about how the user is going to talk about their "space" on a site.  it
sounds natural when the say "my evolt.org".  how natural does it sound to
say "your evolt.org" when referring to their own personalized space?  talk
to a few newbie internet users that have their "my" space setup on yahoo,
excite, msn, etc.  they all refer to it as "my (insert site name)".

  "You don't actually own any space on Yahoo! or
   Netscape, nor can you claim any of the
   information served up. All you've done is the
   online equivalent of setting presets on your

well no kidding, really?  you don't own the space, but the settings you've
chosen are for you and you alone.

  "Let's say I'm interacting with a widget-selling
   site. And I have a personal area on the site,
   and it's called, 'My Account'. Then the system,
   when referring to me, must call me 'I' and 'My,'
   which is weird, [...]"

where's the rule that says that since we're referring to "my account" that
we have to use "i" and "my" when referring to the user.  "my account" or "my
evolt.org" is the result of your interaction with the system.  the
interaction between you and the system should be structured/worded more like
a dialog.  if not properly there shouldn't be any confusion.

  "My Computer. I've always hated this icon -- its
   insulting, infantilizing tone."

ouch, somebody didn't have their wheaties [1] the morning they wrote that.
so an icon is labeled with a possessive.  how evil.  ;p  it's so much less
sterile than "computer" or "volume c"

envision a call to tech support:

tech:  "what did you do?"
you:   "i clicked on 'your computer'"
tech:  "you clicked on *my* computer."



  "Using 'My' on a Web site encourages this
   childish sense of propriety"

but if what i see is what i created for myself when i log in, how can it be
anything *but* mine?  methinks someone got bullied a lot in the playground
when they were a chap.

  "This condescension is born of the desire to make
   people comfortable with a potentially overwhelming
   technology. However, by babying users and not
   educating them to how our systems work, we only
   perpetuate this lack of true understanding."

what on earth does using "my" have to do with babying users or being
condescending?  it's not about avoiding educating the user, it's about
making the user feel like their a part of something.  it's about using
language that feels welcoming and inviting.  "my" is welcoming.  "your" is
utterly confusing.

[1] cereal made of flakes of wheat, usually referred to as "the breakfast of
champions" as the cereal boxes have featured photographs of well known
(usually) american sports figures practically since they were introduced.



jeff at members.evolt.org

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