On our company's website, error messages, loading screens, etc. call users (who are logged in) by their username.

For instance:

  • "Just a minute, [name]. Your content will be loaded shortly."
  • "We're sorry, [name], but your action could not be completed."

Users' usernames are not supposed to be their real names. They can be screen names, such as "bobjoe101" or "alex_is_cool".

If I call users by their usernames, will they think that their username was supposed to be their real name, since they're being addressed as that?

  • 2
    Reddit is a good example of relying on user names, I've never felt confused there.
    – steve
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 6:53
  • 1
    It probably depends on the context. If username is just that thing they have to dig up when they have to re-log in, it might be confusing. But then again, the very fact that the site refers to their username frequently sort of sets the context, that their username is their identity on the site
    – nafg
    Commented Aug 28, 2016 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


I don't think it will cause them any distress, narawagames ;-) As long as their username is one they will remember to identify with (and not one they forget about as soon as they log in and save their info in the browser for future logins), and it is done in a tone consistent with the rest of your site, I think it will be fine.

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