It was astronomer and author Cliff Stoll who famously asked, «Why is it drug addicts and computer aficionados are both called users?» It’s unfortunate that the term user is used in both contexts, but I don’t have a good alternative to the word. So, it is with considerable chagrin that I admit defeat and begrudgingly continue to use the word in this book.
Whenever possible, I try to use a better term, though. Human and person and customer are each often perfectly serviceable replacements for user.
Update: Some follow-up. Now, can we get back to discussing what really matters, namely what UX people should call their profession(s)? :-)
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