No More “Users”? Good luck with that.  

For reference: Jack Dorsey’s memo: Let’s reconsider our “users”.

I sort of like where you’re going with this Jack, but, it’s not going to work. Like it or not, we’re stuck with the word users to describe people who use our products.

You make a fairly good case; suggesting going with “customers” instead. But, the problem there is that not all users are customers and, well, that makes things confusing. I often co-mingle the two, refer to people as user/customer, etc. It’s harder to keep straight than you might think. And I’m one of the lucky ones where all my customers ARE users.

But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is you’ve put the focus in the wrong spot: on a word and now that’s all you’ve got people talking about. The focus should be on your users, not whatever word you choose to use to call them.

Look, I’ve tried this. I used to run a small consultancy in Seattle, Blue Flavor (holy shit, the old site its still there, crazy) and we did our best to present ourselves as a “peoplecentric” design company. Our branding was thick with it. “We speak people!” was our motto. We tried to refer to users as “people” whenever we could. But our customers (the people we were paid by, not the people who used our work; see how it gets messy quick?) were confused by it, and that became a problem.

It turned what should have been a conversation about people into a conversation about a word.

Which is exactly what that little memo did. So, yeah, nice work, Jack. :)

ps - Jack, if you’re reading this, some advice. You should never listen to Howard Schultz. That guy’s a liar and a jerk. Just ask any Zombie Sonics fan.


Read this next

Review: Lean UX Workshop from LUXr

Yesterday a few of us from the product team attended a Lean UX workshop, hosted by Kate Rutter, over at LUXr. My overall impression? The workshop was really good. Kate was an engaging speaker and the material was well thought... Continue →