Current Thinking

People, not “Users”



I try to never call people “users” when I’m at work.You shouldn’t either.


The word “users” brings with it the image of a faceless non-human who operates the software you design and build. We assign them personas or attributes, and even picture them as real people sometimes, but they are always referred to as users – not people. I find that an unsettling practice, and one that has to end.

The humans that use our software are people, not users.

They have lives, concerns, hopes, tragedy, joy and everything in-between. To call them users because they use software loses sight of their humanity – flawed, random and chaotic as it may be. They will never do what you want them to do, but to call them users implies they are sheep who will comply with your intended usage patterns.

Life is messy. People are messy. They couldn’t be more interesting.
Users are faceless sheep who follow.

Quit calling them Users for a day.
See if it sticks.

Call them People, because that’s what we are.


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