1

I wrote this sentence

In our approach, we simulate the way a human user looks for data on a web page. We, as human, rely on the visual appearance of the page (fonts, colors, text or link density) and semantic cues or text signals within the content (titles, highlighted words, the meaning of specific phrases) to build an image of the content structure.

To differentiate between "we, as authors" and as humans, I use "we, as human", but it maybe is "we, as humans" or something else?

In general, are there more idiomatic ways to say "human"?

By the way, is "build an image of something" to mean "perceive", correct?

1

You are inviting the very confusion you're trying to fix when you use "we" first to mean the authors of the study and then, immediately after that, to mean "people in general".

To avoid this confusion, you could just say

In our approach, we simulate the way people typically look for data on a web page. A human reader relies on ...

We often say "build a mental image" to make it clear that we're using "image" figuratively.

2

In your paragraph, "human" is connected by "as" to "we", a pronoun. The most likely conclusion is that the word following "as" is a noun. "Human", a noun, is countable, has a plural form, and in the singular refers to an individual, which cannot correspond to "we", which is plural. You either need another noun that means multitude (like "humanity" or "a civilization" or "a society", neither serves the purpose, BTW) or use plural:

We, as humans, ...


Yes, "to build an image of" can be used to express perception. Or perhaps "to form an image of".

1

If you're looking for an alternate to "humans" I'd recommend differentiating between "we" - the authors - and "us" - the users.

Also, "human" is implied, unless your product is designed for something else - like an animal of some sort, so it's unnecessary.

Your rephrasing could be something along the lines of:

In our approach, we simulate the way a user looks for data on a web page. Users rely on the visual appearance of the page (fonts, colors, text or link density) and semantic cues or text signals within the content (titles, highlighted words, the meaning of specific phrases) to build an image of the content structure.

You could potentially use "they" instead of the second "users" but I wouldn't personally recommend it. I know that you prefer to avoid repeating words but I think it's useful to have it, to emphasize the change in subject from "we" to "users".

You could alternately use "viewer", "reader"... etc.

  • Good point, however I think I need to emphasize "human" to say that our technique is similar to the way (maybe mental process) a human do the thing. – Ahmad Aug 27 '15 at 18:30
  • @Ahmad That's certainly a stylistic choice. I don't understand it, personally... even if you're relating to a study, you'd refer to the "humans" as "subjects" unless you were specifically contrasting the "human" reaction to the "non-human" reaction. – Catija Aug 27 '15 at 18:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.