Thoughts about “users”

This is my new favourite Hugh McLeod cartoon:



It currently has pride of place above my desk at Xero.

On the other hand …

This from Jimmy Gutterman:

“There are only two industries that refer to their customers as users: high tech and illegal drugs.”

Surely we can come up with a better name than “user”?

6 thoughts on “Thoughts about “users””

  1. You’re right Rowan and your post relates to mine a few days ago about simplicity in design – especially high tech businesses. Until we stop creating products just because engineer are able to and move to a model where we fulfil a need or desire in utilisers we will continue to have unfriendly solutions. SaaS is an example of a product designed to fulfil a need rather than an attempt to create a need for a product already designed.

    Interesting challenges….

  2. Yeah, the term is really jargon, derived from the programming world which seems to have a big influence on web culture.

    I’ve noticed when talking to customers they often don’t know what you mean by the term user. I often replace it with “people” or sometimes “customer” if appropriate.

    Reminds me, a lawyer friend once told me that there’s only two types of professionals that have “clients” – lawyers and prostitutes. Everyone else has customers.

  3. I love the paradigm where the user is the developer or collaborator. We are supporting development of location based sites in a web 2.0 environment and I am getting really excited about the concept of allowing the user to help direct the development of sites. The social networking concept itself is no longer the domain of geeks, but an adjunct to the real world.

Comments are closed.