Human-centered design .

What is human-centered design

Human-centered design (HCD) is literally translated as “human-centered design”. It is an approach to creating products that when the person, their needs and their thoughts are in the center. HCD is built on empathy: it is important to understand what the user wants, what pain points he has and develop solutions based on that.

Human-centered design resonates in many ways with design thinking, but these concepts have slightly different emphases and scales:

Human-centered design is a mindset with an emphasis on real benefit for a person, changing his life for the better. Therefore, HCD projects inclusive or simply focused on human comfort as much as possible — and often non-commercial.

Design thinking is an approach for more “smart”, clear and economical product development. It is also focused on requests and pains of the user (empathy is one of the components of the process), but for the success of the development itself. Basically it’s simple “design of a healthy person”: a product that does not take into account the needs and desires of users will simply not be bought.

Another concept with which human-centered design is confused is UX design. This is what the user experience is when working with product, what impressions he has, how easy it was for him to find what he was looking for on the site or in the application. Thoughtful UX design is one way of caring for the user that promotes HCD.

If you come up with a cool computer game, on insights and with smart prototype testing, it will be an example of a good design thinking. And to add to such a game elements that will help to identify emotional disorders and carefully correct them - that’s it it will be about human-centered design.

Where did human-centered design come from?

Human-centered design was created long before such a concept even appeared. It was introduced in 1986 cognitive scientist and future founder of the Nielsen Norman Group and vice president of Apple, Donald Norman. In his book”Design of ordinary things” he explained that the needs of the user should come first, and only then the aesthetic side of the product.

Gradually, this methodology was expanded and refined by other industry players. In 1991, David Kelly together with Design consulting studio IDEO was founded by Mike Nuttall and Bill Moggridge. She transformed people-centeredness to the mainstream: created the Design Kit platform with free training materials and released a field guide with HCD.

Principles of human-centered design

Three rules will help you become an adept of human-centered design:

Focus on people.

Start the development of any product with two questions: “Who am I doing this for?” and “Under what circumstances will people use this product?”.

Think of your target audience not as abstract users, but as real people with real needs. They can be different capabilities (physical, psychological, financial, social), background (historical, cultural, ethnic) and environment.

Solve the “correct” problems.

In other words, treat the disease, not the symptoms. Do not rush to cover all the user’s pains - find out which of them is the main one, which carries all the others, and focus on it. This way you will save energy and time to develop a solution.

Think globally.

Do not focus on improving individual elements. Always keep the big picture in mind and know what you want a person has achieved with your product and what the result should be.

How human-centered design is created

Human-centered design is more of a philosophy than a set of tools, and there are no specific stages. But on each stage of development of the HCD product has its own characteristics:

  • Inspiration

At the start, your goal is to understand the way of thinking and needs of users.

Talk to the people for whom you are creating a product, observe their reactions and habits, do research. Do not strive for a specific result, it will not happen - let users simply share their problems. Be open minded and don’t cling to stereotypes.

  • Concept

When you know what hurts people, you can think about solutions. Turn off your inner critic and write down all the ideas that come to mind in the opinion, no matter how crazy they are. The more, the better.

Do not immediately make a detailed prototype - a crude model will suffice. Show it to users, let them give feedback. It happens that the idea seems cool, but it doesn’t work for users. It is better to find out at an early stage.

  • Incarnation

You already understand the problem of users and know their opinion about your idea. It’s time to create a full-fledged prototype. It will give a clearer understanding of how effectively the product works, how successful it is from a UX point of view.

HCD on examples

If you look closely, the features of human-centered design can be found in many products: from gadgets to soap. It manifests itself in everyone in his own way. Somewhere, product designers are researching a narrow group of users and creating a solution for them, which before no one thought of it. Somewhere they are looking for the insights of a large audience and changing their habits with their product. But the motive is always the same: maximum care for the user.

Soap against cancer

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in India. If the disease is detected at an early stage, there is a chance to be cured, but Indian women are very shy about anything related to the body. They are embarrassed to touch their own breasts, so they take risks miss the symptoms of cancer.

Soap brand Lux, together with the Indian Cancer Society and the Walter Thompson agency, came up with a way to solve the problem. In order to reduce discomfort from touch, they suggested that women conduct self-diagnosis when they feel at their best relaxed - in the bathroom.

The company released soap with a special design: there is a small bump on the bar. Tactile sensations from it work like trigger and remind you to examine your chest:

Home hearing system

5% of the world’s population suffers from hearing problems. Among the difficulties faced by deaf and hard of hearing people — impossibility to accurately understand what is happening at home. It is inconvenient - a person will not hear the sound of the microwave the stove, and the dinner will get cold, and it is even dangerous - if the fire alarm goes off, she will not know that something is on fire.

There are separate devices that signal, for example, that someone is ringing the doorbell. But one that would distinguish crying there was no child from the sound of the kettle boiling. Until Wavio and medical agency AREA 23 introduced See Sound — a smart home hearing system.

AI was trained using 2 million YouTube videos with household sounds. When there is noise, the nearest device is See Sound registers a burst of volume, searches its library for matches, and sends a notification to the smartphone: “It seems that you have something happened on the stove”

What happens next

On the wave of inclusiveness, human-centered design looks trendy and can grow into humanity-centered design — designing, directed not at one person or a separate group, but at all of humanity.

Greg Heist, director of innovation at the consulting company Gongos, also believes that human-centered design has not arrived one day or one year. He cites three reasons why HCD has a great future:

  • People want more and more good design

Steve Jobs didn’t just invent a phone that we’re ready to buy a new model of every year. He made a revolution: design became part of the user experience. From a pleasant bonus, people-centricity has become the key to the success or failure of a product.

  • Good design is a profitable distinguishing feature

It is no longer enough to make a product that does its job well. There are millions of them, and they are all the same. Accounting for human needs goes beyond functionality and works with brand perception on a different level.

  • HCD saves from life’s difficulties

Every day our brain processes gigabytes of information. It’s draining, it makes it harder for us to prioritize and separate important from secondary. In this context, HCD is particularly useful: it concentrates on the root of the problems and seeks optimal solutions decision.

Source —

Sites for finding references and inspiration for designers

A selection of cool web resources that designers can use to find cool references and enrich their design portfolio.

Types of design research that every designer should know

It's a way to understand what your audience needs and how to give it to them. After all, the task of any product is to be useful.

Military year 2022 in design and creativity

Volunteering, communication campaigns and complete Ukrainization

The art of collage

Tips for creating unique graphic compositions and a collection of free files

8 Common Mistakes in UX Mobile Application Design

Even useful applications with great potential are not always successful in the market. The reason often lies in the poorly designed and inconvenient UX.