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We are developing a website and we have different personas (to connect with certain user types). We think layperson is probably not the best and i was wondering if the community here might be able to suggest a few alternatives to "layperson". From our side a layperson would be anyone, a simple site user.

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  • "enthusiast," maybe?
    – Yoav Kallus
    Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 18:35
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    There are few (if any) feminists here; no one will be offended if you use the more common "layman" instead of "layperson".
    – IQAndreas
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 10:31
  • @IQAndreas that's a hell of a claim. While I don't happen to object to "layman" I do consider myself a feminist and I can only imagine plenty of other users here do, too. I'm not trolling, just giving you a heads up.
    – Joel Anair
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 19:57
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    @JoelAnair I, on the other hand, was trolling. ;)
    – IQAndreas
    Commented Dec 28, 2013 at 5:28
  • I always thought of "layman" as non-academic, and "layperson" as non-ordained.
    – Benubird
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 8:20

4 Answers 4

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I wonder if this would be more suitable in English or even User Experience SE. But anyway, try a thesaurus. This one provides links to other words so you can keep probing to refine your meaning.

What's more important, if it's a persona analysis, "layperson" is destined to fail because it engulfs too much in the user spectrum. I'd recommend supplementing with an array of demographic information or even a couple scenarios (sometimes, even a picture) so that your audience can identify with the personas. Just "layperson" may conjure too many different concepts.

Also, a user can be a layperson at many contexts. For instance, if you're running a website selling sailboats. The layperson can be innocent at using a computer, or a newbie to sailing, or a newcomer to buying things that cost more than $10,000 online. You'd need to specify that as well.

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You're going after kind of a weird requirement here. Usually a site will have a hierarchy of users such as Admin > Moderator > User Sometimes there's a few other classifications, but each step up the tree inherits from User and any other class before it.

Unless there's a real need to deviate from the standard, it's generally recommended to stick to them.

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It won't work in all cases, but depending on the context, nonprofessional may fit the bill.

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So presumably you want something more... nice sounding(?) than 'user', but with less potential to be stigmatizing as 'layperson' or my favorites such as illiterati or sheep.

You could invent a word specific to your circumstances such as member, constituent, or associate.

Depending on what you're doing, you could use a word more specific to the desired outcome, such as product tester, front-end developer, consumer experience analyst, or simply consumer.

It's also possible you could just come up with a default name like John Doe, the Great Gazoo, or Rumplestiltskin.

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