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Within Wikipedia, "Username" may refer to Wikipedia:Username.
To log in on Wikipedia, go to Special:Userlogin, or see Help:Logging in.

A user is a person who uses a computer or network service. A user often has a user account and is identified by a username (also user name). Other terms for username include login name, screen name (also screenname), nickname (also nick), or handle, which is derived from the identical Citizen's Band radio term.

Users are also widely characterized as the class of people that use a system without complete technical expertise required to understand the system fully.[1] In hacker-related contexts, such users are also divided into lusers and power users.

In projects in which the actor of the system is another system or a software agent, it is quite possible that there is no end-user for the system.


See also: End-user

The term end-user refers to the ultimate operator of a piece of software, but it is also a concept in software engineering, referring to an abstraction of that group of end-users of computers (i.e. the expected user or target-user). The term is used to distinguish those who only operate the software from the developer of the system, who knows a programming language and uses it to create new functions for end-users.

This abstraction is primarily useful in designing the user interface, and refers to a relevant subset of characteristics that most expected users would have in common. In user-centered design, several fictional Personas are created to represent the archetypal end users, which may include differences concerning which computer interfaces with which each persona is comfortable (due to experience or their inherent simplicity), and the persona's technical expertise and degree of knowledge in specific fields or disciplines.

When few constraints are imposed on the end-user category, especially when designing programs for use by the general public, it is common practice to expect minimal technical expertise or previous training in end-users.[2] In this context, easy-to-learn GUIs (possibly with a touchscreen) are usually preferred to more sophisticated command line interfaces for the sake of usability.

The end-user development discipline blurs the typical distinction between users and developers. It designates activities or techniques in which people who are not professional developers create automated behavior and complex data objects without significant knowledge of a programming language.

User account[edit]

A user's account allows a user to authenticate to system services and be granted authorization to access them; however, authentication does not imply authorization. To log into an account, a user is typically required to authenticate oneself with a password or other credentials for the purposes of accounting, security, logging, and resource management.

Once the user has logged on, the operating system will often use an identifier such as an integer to refer to them, rather than their username, through a process known as identity correlation. In Unix systems, the username is correlated with a user identifier or user id.

Computer systems are divided into two groups based on what kind of users they have:

  • Single-user systems do not have a concept of several user accounts.
  • Multi-user systems have such a concept, and require users to identify themselves before using the system.

Each user account on a multi-user system typically has a home directory, in which to store files pertaining exclusively to that user's activities, which is protected from access by other users (though a system administrator may have access). User accounts often contain a public user profile, which contains basic information provided by the account's owner.

In online communities, screen names can become a mark of persona, some of them acquiring a certain level of fame from the contributions of their holders. Some famous screen names:

Sometimes, screen names are simply shortened or initialized forms of real names. In these cases, the fame of the person and the fame of their username is difficult to separate. Contrast with TR, JFK, and FDR in politics.

While most user accounts are intended to be used by only a single person, many systems have a special account intended to allow anyone to use the system—the username "anonymous" for anonymous FTP, the username "guest" for a guest account, etc.


Some usability professionals have expressed their dislike of the term "user", proposing it to be changed.[3]

Don Norman stated:

One of the horrible words we use is "users". I am on a crusade to get rid of the word "users". I would prefer to call them "people".[4]

However, a counterargument would be that when someone is behind the wheel of a large automobile, they are called "driver". When they are cooking for a restaurant they are called "chef" not "person". The term "user" exists to define context and action.

See also[edit]


This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL, version 1.3 or later.

  1. ^ Jargon File entry for "User". Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ "What is end user?". Retrieved November 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ Don Norman. "Words Matter. Talk About People: Not Customers, Not Consumers, Not Users". 
  4. ^ "Don Norman at UX Week 2008 © Adaptive Path". Retrieved 8 November 2010. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_(computing) — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

792 news items

Windows IT Pro

WindowsItPro (subscription) (blog)
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:37:54 -0700

At VMworld 2014 in San Francisco, Sumit Dhawan, Senior Vice President & GM End User Computing of VMware, met with me about VMware's latest announcements in the areas of desktop and mobile computing. Sumit talked with me about some of the ...

The VAR Guy

The VAR Guy
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:33:45 -0700

VMware CTO Ben Fathi and Software-Defined Data Center Division Executive Vice President Raghu Rahuram stole show by providing VMware's approach to end user computing and how VMware's strategy for the software-defined data center tackles end ...


Tue, 26 Aug 2014 15:18:45 -0700

VMware unveiled its latest bundle of products aimed at end users at its VMworld conference Tuesday, and the big addition is AirWatch, the mobile device management vendor it acquired in January for $1.5 billion. The bundle, called VMware Workplace Suite ...
Information Age
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 02:33:45 -0700

While allowing staff to use their own tools and devices can lead to productivity advantages, an ad-hoc approach to supporting end-user computing environments means that IT departments can become overwhelmed by the need to support multiple, niche ...
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 23:57:29 -0700

VMware, which is betting largely on its end-user computing (EUC) business division, is adopting a fresh strategy for the Indian market. Said Manish Alshi, Head, Partner Sales, India & Saarc, VMware, “Organizations want to transform their applications ...
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 23:00:00 -0700

The question of how to "keep end user computing secure" is complex due to the proliferation of device types, the places users are when they use them and the networks they connect via. Making matters worse is the issue of device ownership, a recent ...

The VAR Guy

The VAR Guy
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 05:22:30 -0700

Wasmer, who held high-level positions at MobileIron (MOBL) and Apple (APPL), rejoined VMware earlier this month, said Sanjay Poonen, executive vice president and general manager of VMware's End-User Computing division. In his new role, Wasmer will ...
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:48:45 -0700

Noah Wasmer, a former VMware end-user computing product manager, has rejoined the company after a two-year absence that included a stint leading Apple's worldwide marketing for the iPad. Wasmer's new title at VMware is vice president of end-user ...

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