Stop Calling Them "Users"

I’m not sure where I had first heard the idea to stop calling the people you make your product for “users”, but it has always stucked with me. It may not seem like a big deal, to use a term like “user” to describe someone that uses your product, but consider that another term for user is somoene that uses drugs. Although developers may want their “players” addicted to playing their game, I wouldn’t want to be treated like a junky.

As Jack Dorsey wrote, “While it might be convenient, “users” is a rather passive and abstract word.” There is always a better phrase for the people that interact with your products.

They are “customers” that buy food from a local franchisee store. They are “sellers” or “auctioneers” that make a living selling their own things through your platform to “buyers”. They are “producers” of content sharing with “consumers”. They are “parents” that are trying to help their “children”. They are “singles” looking for a fling. They are “developers” that release applications through your app store.

Just like a designers and UX may use personas, using these new terms can form your conversations and create a product that everyone can enjoy.

Written by Mark Schall on 06 April 2015