You are NOT a “User”

Every so often, someone points out that user—the software industry’s term for “the people who use our products”—may not be a perfect one.

Doesn’t it reveal a shallow, reductive view of the humanity? Or depict customers as machines? Isn’t user, you know, also what we call drug addicts?

It’s easy to see why ‘users’ might cause contention. The phrase is criticized for its negative connotations and outdated use, and many argue that is has no place in the modern world. Just as ‘subjects’ grew inappropriate and was replaced with ‘participants’ in scientific studies, it is argued that the term ‘users’ is dehumanising. Those five letters may seem innocuous, but they potentially objectify your customers. Oxford Living Dictionary defines ‘user’ with three different meanings, two of which hold negative connotations:
  1.  A person who uses or operates something.
  2.  A person who takes illegal drugs; an addict.
  3.  A person who exploits others.
This means that more than 66% of the understanding of the term ‘users’ is negative. By incorporating it into your UX terminology, you risk associating these negative connotations with your brand. Because of this, ‘users’ implies exploitation and addiction within your customers, and demonstrates a less than respectful stance towards them. In this sense, no one wants to be called a ‘user’.   “I am a kratom user.” “If you are a user of kratom…” “When you use kratom….” Do you say that you “use Sam E” supplements? Do you say “I’m a user of chamomile tea”? You never say “I use Prozac for my mood”. No! You TAKE kratom. You CONSUME kratom. You DRINK kratom. Let’s make the change.  
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Breezy Team

The Breezy Team manages all Breezy Trees Botanical's channels as well as writes content. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please message us!

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