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I have a panel that users will use to sort through list items. I want it to include two functions and was wondering what to name these so they make the most sense. One function will be to "pin" one list item as the default item on the list, every time a user comes back to that page. Another function would be to "favorite" list items so that they appear higher on the list each time a user comes back.

Does pin and favorite make the most sense for the naming of these functions?

Please let me know if a visual is needed, but I figured since this is a naming convention, it's not entirely needed.

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  • When and why would users prefer to pin an item over marking it as favorite and vice versa? I think this depends much on the context, can you elaborate on that?
    – jazZRo
    Commented Feb 6 at 21:26

3 Answers 3

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"Favourite" is a word that's halfway between "this is important to me" and "I like this". Those two concepts aren't necessarily identical, for example, an email telling you that you need to do your taxes next week is probably important, but it's not really your favourite email to receive.

For this reason, and possibly more, the use of it has fallen out of favor in most places: Twitter went on to call the "I like this" part "likes" (with a heart), YouTube did the same (with a thumbs-up), while Gmail went with "starred" (with a star symbol) instead for the "this is important" aspect. "Starred" is extremely literal, but somehow doesn't translate well into other languages, so the German translation of it only says "marked" instead, with an implicit "marked... as important" understood by the user. Well, the German word would be "markiert", but you get the point.


As for pinned, that word means that you have an item from within a list fixed at the top or another special place. Outside of the use of "favorite" for the same concept, I am not aware of other words for it.

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It seems to me that if the action is to "make the item the default" you should use the word "default" Tell user's exactly what's going to happen.

As for "favorites" can you do that behind the scenes and not ask the user to know they want something? Based on what you described "recently used" seems more like what's actually happening.

If the user selects an item twice then put it at the top of the list. If they pick the same thing 9x then put that above the one selected twice. You can always add a divider to the list (but don't duplicate items)

Select one
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Item used 9x
Item used 4x
Item used 2x
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Item never selected
Item never selected
Item never selected
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I have encountered both "Pin" and "Favorite" (or "Fav," or "Fave"). The issue with "PIN" is its common association with "Personal Identification Number," but given the context, this shouldn't be a problem. In ay case, you could reinforce the meaning with an icon. Just in case, aAnother term I've seen used for this is "Sticky."

Regarding the behavior after pinning or favoriting an item, it appears quite clear to me, and I would exactly exactly what you described: pinned items move up, followed by favorites. However, you might need some form of sorting or filtering mechanism. Consider what happens if your page lists, for example, 20 items and the user favorites 50.

Aside from the cmments above, your choice of terminology and the affordances for these terms seem to be OK (barring user testing, of course).

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