Person Perspective: Social Aspects of UI Design

Manoj kumar | 30th March 2018


The Design Problem
You are either conveying information to the user or displaying information relating to their use of your product, service, application or website. You are unsure of whether to take the first, second or third person perspective to represent the user’s relationship to the contents.


The Solution
Use the first person perspective when you want the user to feel in control of their content without outside involvement, such is the case in social media sites where users have a personal profile and use the second person perspective when you are conveying messages to the user, such as when referring to what the user can do in your design. In addition, if you want the user to feel open to connections, using the second person perspective (i.e. referring to things in the user’s dashboard, profile or panel as ‘Your ….’) encourages them to think of themselves as part of something, rather than an isolated individual user. Using the word ‘Your’ instantly creates the sense of being involved in discourse, so the user is immediately entered into a social setting.


Why choose person perspectives?
The use of person perspectives helps to encourage the user to view a product, service, application etc as personally relevant and meaningful. This is particularly important in social media sites, dashboards, control panels and any other occasion where the user is meant to be in charge of the user interface. By using the first person perspective (e.g. ‘My Profile’) you give the impression that the user is in control, reinforcing the personal aspects of the design. In contrast, using the second person perspective (e.g. ‘Your Dashboard’) encourages the user to think of the experience of using your design as a social one.


Potential Problems
There are no real problems associated with choosing person perspectives; just make sure your usage is consistent across all the different contents. For example, if you have used ‘My Profile’ in one instance, make sure you use it on all other occasions.

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Manoj kumar

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