There is no such person as a “user”.
We've always been perplexed by the question “what does the user want?”
And the admonition “we need to think about the user and their needs!”
Who is this creature “the user”? What is meant by “wants” and “needs”?
Approaching us and how we live meaningful deeply embedded and enactive lives as “users” is to radically disembed us from the world we are of -- and to strip us and the things that make it up of our shared agency. We don’t use things, we are the outcome of our intra-actions with things. We are enactive co-worldmakers.
Becoming a “user” separates us into being a unique, complete and whole-in-itself entity facing a neutral world of “choices” of what to use to fulfill our supposedly objective “needs” and our less objective “wants”.
This model of “product realism” or “capitalist realism” is in itself problematic. But, by starting from the particular implicit set of assumptions built into the term “user” we have narrowly circumscribed the types of questions we can explore and the ways of acting we can engage in.
It is perhaps more useful to start by asking questions about value – how do we as a community and a culture enact a unique world and come to sense beauty, importance, desire and a lived sense of being.
(And of course one way that has emerged to be of a world involves the production of “users” with “needs” and “wants”... but it is a way that is profoundly disempowering and fundamentally alienating from the possibility of other ways of being alive…)
It is very hard to be involved in change making (innovation) if one already assumes a very narrow set of confines of what change and agency can look like -- and this is what beginning from the assumption of “users” does.