Human-centered design is the process of designing products and services that are designed with the human in mind. It's not enough to make a product or service that's just functional and attractive, but it needs to be designed with the needs of humans in mind.
When you design something for a human, you'll discover that they have very specific needs and desires, wants, and fears. It's impossible to know them all, but at least you can start by understanding your audience and what they need from you.
Human centered design is not just about making things look pretty; it's about making sure that people feel good when they use your product or service, and that it helps them solve problems that are important to them. This kind of design will help you create an emotional connection with your users—and make them want to come back for more!
How to focus on humans when designing?
You also want to make sure that your product doesn't just look good—you want it to be an enjoyable, easy thing for people to use. And if there's one thing we know about our users, it's that they're busy! They have limited time and energy, so they shouldn't have to spend too much time figuring out how something works before they can actually start using it.
So when designing something new or existing on behalf of someone else (your boss), here are some tips for making sure your work helps them:
- When you're designing a product or service with specific human needs in mind (like a new type of shoe), make sure you ask people who will use it what they need from it.
- When you're designing something that isn't meant for people but might affect them (like an app), make sure to include some sort of feedback mechanism so users can give you feedback about how well your app works for them.
- When you're designing something for people who use it regularly and have different needs every day (like a doctor's office), make sure to create multiple versions so everyone has access to the most up-to-date information available.
Human Centered Design Case Studies
“It’s not ‘us versus them’ or even ‘us on behalf of them.’ For a design thinker it has to be ‘us with them.’”-Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO
Understanding people is best accomplished by meeting them where they are. We recommend getting out of the office and immersing yourself in the lived experiences and context of those you want to understand, whether in a factory, a farm, or someone's home.
People evolve, and people are central to social impact. Their social, economic, and cultural environments shape their experiences, perspectives, and behaviors. Whatever we're working on, a better understanding of people leads to more effective and impactful design.