I really dislike how the software world talks about “users.” In any other context this word has pretty terrible connotations. (Drug users anyone?) It has become the standard way that nearly all software companies describe their customers.
Calling a customer a “user” dehumanizes them. At the far end of our development, sales, and marketing efforts are people with real lives and needs. We hope that they are willing to give us some of their hard-earned money in exchange for the software and services we provide. When we lose sight of the people we allow ourselves to make poor decisions, starting with design and continuing all the way down the line to service and support.
This year, in a year we all hope gives us a chance to be physically together with more humans, spend time with more humans, hug and handshake and eat together with more humans, let’s also try to remember that humans are the ones buying our software. We may not be able to learn all of their names or talk to them one by one. Calling them customers will help us remember their humanity.