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I am working on a web app and there's this section where the user can add devices (desktop, tablet, phone) that they are using to play games along with some technical specifications - it's a game-related app. But that's not what's important here.

I am wondering what's the difference (and if any way is better) between naming the section "My devices" vs "Your devices" vs just "Devices" to avoid this drama or perhaps something else even.

EDIT: That came up in a comment, but I feel like this will clear up things a little bit, so I am adding a little more details around the question.

Right next to "Devices" I have another section - "Motivation letter" (again - my/your/blank) which then below has a little instruction saying: "Write here why you think you should be the one that...". And it's hard to replace this instruction with something of a First Person I guess. So I have two things near each other and that's why I felt uncertain of my first choice - "My devices".

So would/wouldn't it be wrong to have "My motivation letter" and then the instruction "Write here why you think..." ?

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    Whatever you choose, check and recheck everything for consistency. – Ken Mohnkern Feb 26 '18 at 14:16
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These are minutiae that are best settled with a writing style guide for your application (not necessarily the same as your website's writing style guide!), along with consideration for what kind of message you want to send to the user.

Take the Material Design writing guide as an example:

Addressing users

Your UI may address the user using either:

Second person, “you” or “your”: Use this conversational style for most situations, as though the app is speaking directly to the user.

First person, “I” or “my”: In some cases, you may need to use this form of address to emphasize the user's ownership of content or actions.

Avoid mixing "me"/"my" with "you"/"your.” It can cause confusion to see both forms of addressing the user in the same context.

Then consider what message you want to communicate:

  1. The devices section shows all devices, the user is not important -> "Devices" would be appropriate and clear
  2. The devices section shows only the user's devices as opposed to other devices on the network, but the user doesn't need to be emphasized -> "Your devices" works well
  3. The devices in question are very personal, the personal aspect should be emphasized -> "My devices"
  • I feel like regarding to what you wrote I need to choose nr 3, as those devices are personal, but within the account there won't be any other (someone else's) devices to compare so nr 1 and 2 don't apply. And right next to "Devices" I have another section - "Motivation letter" (again - my/your/blank) which then below has a little instruction saying: "Write here why you think you should be the one that...". And it's hard to replace this instruction with something of a First Person I guess. So I have two things near each other and that's why I felt uncertain of my first choice - "My devices". – Ola Osinska Feb 27 '18 at 8:58
  • There don't need to be other devices to compare to WITHIN an account, but even in terms of the computer as a whole. If "Devices" and "Your devices" could mean different things, then the distinction is relevant. Given that you're already using "you" on the page and you shouldn't mix pronouns, I'd recommend going with "Your devices". – Tin Man Feb 28 '18 at 14:23
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It's an interesting question, and the answer is: it depends.

You'd use "My devices" if you wanted to make the user feel at home on the website that in fact is not theirs. And by saying "Your devices" you are implying that you are the host of the place, the user is your guest you do your best to make them comfortable.

Or in other words: is it you who welcomes the user in the app, or is it them who have to arrange everything by themselves?

I would stay away from plain "Devices". Use rather "Linked devices" or "Authorised devices" to give more context.

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Some people argue that it's a matter of preference. However, 'Your devices' is arguably better than 'My devices'.

Think of your app as someone providing a service, like a shop assistent. Your app should behave well and communicate politely. If items belong to the user, they should be referred to as 'Your ...'. If your app treats the user as a human being and acts like a human being itself, it might actually close the gap between humans and computers.

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    Not necessarily, it depends on what kind of emotion you want to evoke. The use of "my" has preference when you want people to feel ownership. "Your" is more distanced, and would be more suited for the situation you sketched. The most important thing is to stay consistent and use the same phrasing every single time. Once you mix "your" and "my" in copy you're going to end up with a lot of confused people. – Wanda Feb 26 '18 at 16:24

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