A piece about perspective
“My” point of view
By using “my” in an interface, it implies that the product is an extension of the user. It’s as if the product is labeling things on behalf of the user. “My” feels personal. It feels like you can customize and control it.
By that logic, “my” might be more appropriate when you want to emphasize privacy, personalization, or ownership. And maybe that’s why My Computer worked well years ago. Back then, a computer was almost always a single-player experience. People usually didn’t share files, and all their stuff felt safe inside that one little icon.
“Your” point of view
By using “your” in an interface, it implies that the product is talking with you. It’s almost as if the product is your personal assistant, helping you get something done. “Here’s your music. Here are your orders.”
By that logic, “your” might be more appropriate when you want your product to sound conversational—like it’s walking you through some task. Whether it’s paying bills, scheduling an appointment, or filling out tax forms, many products help people do things faster, smarter, and more easily.
Nowadays, computers and apps are even taking on the persona of a personal assistant. They have names like Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. They help you take notes, remind you to buy milk, and read emails out loud to you.
Many different apps, including Medium, give you recommendations. In my mind, I think of this like a personal assistant hand-picking stories for me to read today. I think this trend will only become more widespread, and we’ll probably see more and more apps using “your” instead of “my.”
No point of view
As with most things in design, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution that works for every situation. But one thing that many products do nowadays is to just cut out words like “my” or “your” whenever labeling things that belong to the user.
And maybe this dropping of the “my” is the exact same approach that Windows took when it decided to change My Computer to Computer.
Unfortunately, cutting out “my” or “your” doesn’t work 100% of the time. Sometimes you really do need to differentiate the user’s stuff from someone else’s stuff. For example, in YouTube, you can’t just say “Channel,” because it’s not clear whether that’s referring to your channel, channels that you’ve subscribed to, or channels that YouTube is recommending to you.
And maybe, just maybe, this is why Windows eventually changed Computer to This PC. It was because Computer was too ambiguous on its own, and they needed to clarify that they were referring to this computer.
Complete article: Is this my interface or yours? – John Saito – Medium