User is a person trying to reach a goal.
The entire definition space is based on the idea that people always have a goal. There could be big goals, goals in the far future or goals in the near future and very small or atomic goals. In addition, this is about a person, i.e. a human being with a will. All the actions taken imply the fact that person is intending to reach a goal. However, it is not relevant if the person reaches the goal successfully or if she fails; therefore “trying” is good enough for this definition.
Moreover, the definition allows that the items for being necessary for a person to reach a goal, could be non-material. The items could be pure information, guidelines or math equations. In other words, the item does not necessarily have to be a tool or hardware.
Relating the term user to the goal definition, a user is a person, trying to achieve something.
However, please note, in addition to the “user experience” or “design” related use of the term “user”, there are other meanings of the term “user” as well.
- among developers: user = idiot
- drug scene: user = drug abuser
- social (1): user = a person who exploits others
- social (2): user = (ab-) using somebody within a sexual relationship (only one person benefits)
The tricky part is that the last three items are by far older and could be more established into the society than the user experience related meaning. The next term discussed in this series will be “customer”.