A reflective characterisation of occasional user

Antonio L. Carrillo, Santiago Martinez, Juan Falgueras, Kenneth C. Scott-Brown

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    239 Downloads (Pure)


    This work revisits established user classifications and aims to characterise a historically unspecified user category, the Occasional User (OU). Three user categories, novice, intermediate and expert, have dominated the work of user interface (UI) designers, researchers and educators for decades. These categories were created to conceptualise user's needs, strategies and goals around the 80s. Since then, UI paradigm shifts, such as direct manipulation and touch, along with other advances in technology, gave new access to people with little computer knowledge. This fact produced a diversification of the existing user categories not observed in the literature review of traditional classification of users. The findings of this work include a new characterisation of the occasional user, distinguished by user's uncertainty of repetitive use of an interface and little knowledge about its functioning. In addition, the specification of the OU, together with principles and recommendations will help UI community to informatively design for users without requiring a prospective use and previous knowledge of the UI. The OU is an essential type of user to apply user-centred design approach to understand the interaction with technology as universal, accessible and transparent for the user, independently of accumulated experience and technological era that users live in.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)74-89
    Number of pages16
    JournalComputers in Human Behavior
    Early online date20 Dec 2016
    Publication statusPublished - May 2017


    • Concepts and models
    • User classification
    • Occasional use
    • User models
    • HCI theory


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