When designing an app, we write “user stories,” strive to think of “the end user,” and practice “user-focused” design.
But “users” are so faceless. And to me, it gives an incredibly weird power dynamic. We, the great technological gods, have created fire. The lowly user, at the end of the line, the bottom of the food chain, can only consume this gift.
It makes me think of a caged gerbil suckling from a water bottle.
So here are 35 alternatives for the word “users” to think about when designing your app:
Mothers, fathers, doctors, patients, toddlers, meditators, nurses, teachers, students, podcasters, developers, clients, customers, players, writers, journalers, jugglers, gardeners, grandparents, pilots, fitness freaks, balloonists, trapeze artists, foodies, dog walkers, yogis, activists, pilates instructors, movie buffs, rappers, collectors, painters, hairdressers, reviewers, furries.
Your app may serve just one of these people (or most likely one not listed). But when I think of the person on the other end of the phone this way, it totally flips the gerbil image for me.
It makes me think of service. These are people whom we are trying to serve with technology.
As people, and dog walkers and beat makers and dress shoppers, they have needs and wants and dreams.
May we keep those human traits at the forefront when we design for each other.