For example, Microsoft abandoned the "My" prefix in Vista for Documents, Pictures, etc. in the UI.
And then they brought it back in 7. I guess people complained.
I agree that omitting the "My" or "Your" where possible is the right way to go. If the overall context of the web page or application doesn't make it clear whose items are in question, adding "My" isn't always going to help much, or at all.
Consider Facebook, for example. Look at a friend's page. It probably has a "Photos" link. Would "My Photos" be clearer? Would "My Photos" refer to photos belonging to the logged-in user or photos belonging to the person depicted above the link?
It's the context in which the "Photos" link appears that makes its purpose and meaning clear, and that is usually the case.
Regarding Facebook, everything is shared to some degree so I am not sure it is an apt example.
Me too, but I believe that's a context problem, not a phrasing problem.
Also, Win7 did not add the "My" prefix back to computer, documents, pictures, or anything.
Well then somebody has some explaining to do.
In fairness, there are aliases of some kind set up such that "John\Documents" and "John\My Documents" are synonyms. But the GUI very much puts "My" front and center for me.
Mea culpa. I haven't used 7 very much =)
Speaking of context, though, I've also heard "don't use My" as a recommendation for mobile UIs, because they don't have that much space to spend on the word to begin with...
I guess it is understandable that you might not have yet gained the user's trust but I feel like then they wouldn't be your user.
For many people, it's going to feel/be more natural to write in the second person. Writing in the first person, when you are instructing someone else rather than describing yourself, takes more conscious effort. It's easy to forget and slip tenses. Also, and important, the resulting language/copy often ends up reading "stilted" -- it doesn't seem natural.
Unless you have a particular impression in mind, and the skill to pull it off well, I'd consider going with second person. It will probably be quicker to write, and if you really need to switch to first person, you'll have pre-existing copy from which to start.
P.S. I also tend to favor leaving such qualifiers off of labels, except when they clearly help distinguish an item.
They explain why they've determined that "your" is best.
How about just "Items" and "Photos"? Unless there is something marked "Someone else's items" and "Someone else's photos", is it necessary to specify that they belong to the user?
This is a reaction to being fed up with OSs and programs putting things in the predefined directories without asking.
I tend to prefer using the 2nd person, if I have to choose one over the other.
 - Sorry, should also add the link to the Yahoo patterns article, which also recommends the 2nd person http://developer.yahoo.com/ypatterns/social/core/yourvmy.htm....
"My photos" v. "Your photos": both seem to work
"We weren't able to complete your request" v. "Someone else wasn't able to complete my request."
"Please enter your valid email address" v. "Please enter my valid email address"
"To (...), you need to upgrade to a Pro Plan" v. "To (...), I need to upgrade to a Pro Plan."
The user is the second person, because sometimes your app or company needs to speak to them using the first person.
French: +Vous (polite 2nd person)
Italian: +Tu (casual 2nd person)
German seems to be the exception, Googl prefers 2nd person.
How about option 3: "Items" and "Photos"? Unless of course you have to differentiate between "Mine" and "Everyone Elses"
If the app or site does not belong to the user, but is clearly a third party the user gives things to in order to process them or perform some action on or with them, label it as a service person would speak to the user. How would the service person at Costco refer to those same prints? Probably “Your Photos” in contrast with "Everyone's Photos". In this case, the label "Photos" would be most likely to apply to all photos, not just the user's own.
Going with conversational style, keeping in mind who is the speaker for a given action, goes a long way to clarifying which stories need which terms.
This gets more complicated in "the cloud" but the same distinction (ownership vs operation, and who is the speaker for an action) can apply.
The second most popular answer is the one I'd strive for.
"Your Whatever" isn't even an option though... don't like it at all.
Your = "I'm presenting you your photos which i just store for your convenience".
My = "You've uploaded your private photos, now they are mine, dumbass!"
Definitely "Your", in my oppinion.
And "your" is very accusation and confrontational. "My" rubs the ego the right way. So, my vote goes for "my".
Have you considered just "Items" and "Photos"? If you end up splitting public/private, "My Public...", "My Private..." is a mouthful.
This ultimately is an exercise in KISS imo.
for actual app interface, my is better