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I'm working for a site that is basically a regional/provincial hub for everything from events to classified ads.

When you first get on the homepage you get provincial news, events, classified ads and many other things.

The site slogan is something like My province in one click.

Based on that slogan the categories are named as follow:

My events, my content, my classified ads, my news, my weather and so on.

I don't personally think its good practice to prefix everything with my and would like some opinion on this from the IA community.

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6 Answers 6

Prefixing everything with my increases the ratio of noise to signal on your design by adding elements that don't hold significance. It creates awkward repetition and by decreasing the sightedness in link phrase shape, makes it harder to seek links quickly. It also puts a non-unique word on the left of the link, which means it takes longer to recognize when scanned as part of a vertical list.

Unless you have to specifically disambiguate something's ownership, avoid "my" and "your" prefixes by default.

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The only extension to what Nathan (and others) have said is that you may be able to create the illusion of personalization (thus justifying the use of "My") by prompting the user to perform a search when they first choose a certain section (a search which masquerades as a type of personalization) e.g. What kind of events are you interested in? You could remember their settings next time they come back, too.

However, this could have a negative impact in that it might reduce the content to silly levels - the user might miss something they're interested in because of how it has been categorized for example - and it might put people off going further. I'd imagine the goal is, like most information sites, to allow the user to get to the information as quickly and easily as possible.

I quite like the idea of implied personalization, and the "My" keyword does that to an extent. But I agree with the others, it should only be used for things that the user has control over.

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Is the user logged in? I wouldn't use MY unless it's for groups of items they themselves have created, then it truly becomes MY stuff.

The word MY just takes up extra room in navigations and menus and the like and can makes lists harder to scan.

The slogan "My province" is enough to show the user the content is local and the promise of "one click?" well I've already used one to get to the homepage, so how many more clicks through the "MY..." categories will be needed before users get content they want to see?

Id rethink the slogan too :)

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3  
Yes, don't use "my" unless you need to distinguish it from not-my on the same site. "My Classified Ads" sounds like ads the user personally placed. Labels should start with the most distinguishing and informative words so users can easily scan for them. Cluttering your labels with low-meaning words like “my” (or "view" or "manage") makes it harder for the user. –  Michael Zuschlag Sep 2 '10 at 20:59
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Yes, reserve the "My" prefix only for the customized sections. Otherwise use just the name of the section (events, content, ads, etc.) –  Pedro Sep 3 '10 at 7:19

Arpit suggests a really useful article. While using 'my' aims to be personal, it often comes across as a robotic assistant.

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See the my vs. your pattern on Yahoo's pattern library:

http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/social/core/yourvmy.html

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+1 good answer. –  Mathew Foscarini Nov 24 '12 at 20:13

"My" seems to be much more of a marketing/branding decision. Sometimes those conflict with ideal UX.

If it is used, I definitely agree with Nathan. It should be an indicator of personalization on some level.

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