It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we complain about the term «user», that is. So I’m just reusing what I said in my book:

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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designed for use cover

But wait, there's more!

Want to read more like this? Buy my book's second edition! Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web is now available DRM-free directly from The Pragmatic Programmers. Or you can get it on Amazon, where it's also available in Chinese and Japanese.