Any design that can convey the brand’s ideology to the user without stressing them is called the right & measured design.
Among various designing ideologies and methods, one of the most used design approaches is human-centered design. It focuses on understanding the pain points of the users, their needs, and offering them solutions via design accordingly- is what made the human-centered design the new designing trend.
Human-centered design is an intelligent blend of various principles. Through these designing principles, designing products as per user requirements can be made possible efficiently.
For instance- The new age technology like AR, VR, Digital assistance presents exciting opportunities for the future but how can one ensure that whatever he/she is designing is as per the user requirements.
Well, in such a situation, human-centered design and its principles take the leading role and help in transforming the opportunity into a user-based solution.
A field guide to human-centered design and principles can help you understand what is so important about human-centered design and engineering.
Let’s get started-
What is human-centered design?
In the most simplistic term, Human-centered design (HCD) also known as the user-centered design is a product designing approach/philosophy. It focuses on the entire designing and development processes around people who will be buying or using the finished product.
Furthermore, the design is precisely objective, free from assumptions and involves real-life situations and experiences of users. HCR research, testing, and analysis are an integral part of the human-centered design approach.
The term “human-centered” refers to the feeling of closeness & empathy while strengthening the psychological and emotional bond with the users and potential users. The bond here inspires one to come up with unique and awestruck design work resonating with the end-users of the product- HUMANS!
Why is human-centered design important?
Here are 5 strong reasons showing the importance of human-centered design:
- Human-Centered Design and engineering lead to better product designing capable of solving real-world problems.
- Without involving or considering the real user of the end product results in product failure.
- Asking relevant questions to the users before getting started with the product designing can help in uplifting the overall performance of the product while increasing the goodwill and user base too.
- Focusing on the end product users through HCD research and process, designers can easily recognize the diversification of human values and cultures. This practice helps in creating sustainable businesses.
- A human-centered design approach creates a connection between the product and humans, ultimately driving more engagement and growth.
These things can be achieved through insightful HCD research, Human-Centered Design, and engineering along with its principles.
Let’s get started with its principles
8 best Human-Centered Design principles
1. Real people persona
Understanding people is the requirement of human-centered design other than data and analytics.
When getting started with designing for a product, the first step is to find real people who closely resemble the end-users. Statistical data, demographics knowledge, purchasing pattern, and hypothetical user based situation cannot provide the ground detailing.
Hence, by eliminating such practices and assumptions, connecting and talking with real people is what human-centered design principles focus upon.
For that matter, get started with finding markets that serve similar products like yours. Also, always ensure you are not bound to the walls of organizations, look beyond that. Until and unless, you are not connecting with the real users, designing your product as per their requirements is next to impossible.
You can also opt for- Surveys, Contextual Inquiries, On-site interviews, etc.
Once done with these, create user personas of the people who will be using your product. Always consider these personas for every step of product designing.
2. Real people for testing
Just like real people user personas, a designed product should always be tested by real people- as they are the end product users!
For testing purposes, ensure you are asking a few questions like-
- Is your product offering solutions to the users?
- Can your product help users to accomplish the task for which they are using your product?
- The journey of the user using the product? Why and how would they be using your product?
- Are you designing a product in such a way that it is easy to be used by real users?
A Human-Centered Design free online course can help gain a core understanding of human-centered design testing processes.
For making human-centered design effective, the entire designing team should precisely do HCD research in the right way. This will make them understand the people, their pain points, along with gaining an insight into whom they are building and designing.
It is a skill and thus, can be learned from real-life experiences and situations.
Here Human-Centered Design consulting can greatly help. Also, an experienced designer can teach and encourage product designers and developers to smartly apply human-centered designing principles through the process.
Empathy is a feeling that connects one to another. When we talk about human-centered design, empathy encourages product designers and developers to walk into the shoes of real users. The feeling helps in letting them examine various situations and thus, come up with great solutions.
Focusing on a particular point of view will let you miss the right target, and thus will fail you to address the needs of the users and what they are expecting from your product.
As per Paul Strike, the Design Thinking conference presenter and head of design at Prudential explain’s-
“Empathy is key to creating a rich and rewarding experience that will actually engage customers and drive product and service participation. It’s a form of detailed understanding, insight, and awareness that comes from intimately knowing people.”
Thus, empathizing with users is a necessity and an important principle!
5. Work on experiences
Rather than experimenting with formulas, Human-centered design principles work through experiences. When given more focus to experience, the product designing enhances its worth all the more.
Experienced Designers and developers always pay attention to the real-life experience and take leverages out of it when working using human-centered design.
As every project calls for different tools and necessities, developing empathy maps, user journey maps, mental model diagrams are not mandatory every time. In a few particular situations, designers need to work harder with their human-centered design decisions. Decisions- that can serve both- Business ideology and real user satisfaction.
Experienced designers can also challenge preconceived ideas regarding the product for the overall betterment of the product services. Here, prewritten formulas will do nothing. Everything here will revolve around experience!
6. Iterative process
For every human-centered design, designers and developers pivot and refine their designing strategy through HCD research, testing, and feedback.
Designing using human-centered principles is a continuous task and the scope of refinement and betterment are always open. New discoveries about end-users, different situations, and others are the obvious part of the product designing process.
Meanwhile, feedback, reviews are important. A minimum viable product (The MVP) version of the product always helps to gain what is the most liked/disliked thing about the product and then further enhancements can be made.
7. Design cooperation
Designing is a process that takes place across teams!
Hence, a few things should always be taken into consideration when opting for human-centered design-
- Development team’s technical expert to review and inform about the design.
- Designing should be done where business ideology and user satisfaction both lies.
- Transparency and collaboration should always be welcomed.
- One of the human-centered design examples involves designers who can also suggest things during product road-mapping activities. Designers carry vision and insight into user priorities and can help in giving an edge to which feature should be developed first and which should be given second priority.
As human-centered design jobs & processes are all about knowing users, their problems, pain points to offer robust solutions. Knowing users is a step by step process starting from their problems, solutions, how to let them use your product and so on. Thus, Notes are the obvious things to have handy.
Thought for good design-
Human-centered design is all about finding the right solution for the user’s problems through the business’s or brand’s ideology. And gaining insight is a process way before the actual demographic and market-based research. Without walking a few miles wearing the user shoes will not bring the desired result to the product.
Hence, Human-Centered Design consulting can help designers or developers to get started.
If you have some doubts or are willing to know more, connect with me today!