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.

  • "enthusiast," maybe?
    – Yoav Kallus
    Commented Nov 1, 2013 at 18:35
  • 1
    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
  • 1
    @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


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.


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.


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


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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.