To realize just how important human-centered design is when working on the next best user-centered product, let’s first remind ourselves of the obvious failures (or not so obvious at the time of designing). There’s WhatsApp’s delete feature, which actually lets the receiver know you’ve deleted a message. Or perhaps the endless dropdown menus, and Juicero, the Silicon Valley famous flop.
To make sure you avoid similar scenarios, we’re going to analyze user-centered products and human-centered design, i.e., how they work in unity to deliver the ultimate user-friendly product or service.
Human-centered design benefits
Human-centered design, as the name suggests, is a problem-solving technique that puts real people into the development process spotlight. With human-centered design, you’re creating products or services that are intuitive and accessible to the target audience. User-centered design is very much similar to it, except for the fact that the user isn’t necessarily human.
Why have these designs become immensely popular in the digital world? Because business owners have decided not to waste time and funding on products unsuitable for the target audience.
For example, the human and user-centered design will enable you to achieve the following:
- Competitive advantage — By responding to the actual users’ needs, you’ll solve their problems faster, thus gaining a competitive edge.
- Improved productivity — Quick and precise feedback helps developers finish their work faster and with higher quality.
- Stress relief — As human-centered design helps you create a group of loyal clients, you can be more confident about your future income. Thus, the work atmosphere changes for the better.
- High customer satisfaction — With proper design plans, your customers are going to be very satisfied, eventually helping you with brand loyalty, recommendations, and higher revenues.
On the other hand, human-centered and user-centered designs have their share of downsides. Whatever you think of doing, you’d better do it quickly. Don’t allow a lot of time to pass between the feedback you gather and the plan for a user-centered product. Today, following the trends is vital, and sometimes they change too fast for the developers to adjust to the new demands in design updates.
How to create user-centered products
Here are some basic principles you need to follow to create a user-centered product/service via human or user-centered design:
You should disregard the urge to create a product with the sole aim of getting easy into the market. Think about your end users’ problems and requirements, and how they could benefit from you. Try to avoid thinking about the shortcut to an easy win, which eventually won’t bring loyalty or build a strong base for the future.
Communicate with the users from the beginning
This calls for qualitative UX research. You can gather feedback via surveys, questionnaires, trials, focus groups, etc., in order to create user personas and user journeys. The latter shows the shopping journey from the need over the idea of the purchase to the act of buying itself. You should be able to understand the motivation behind all of it, and how users move through the experience in most cases. Besides the user’s goals, don’t forget to take into account their environment, as it’s also a contributing factor.
Specify both user and business requirements
Or should we say, make peace between these two. While it’s vital that you are acquainted with the end user’s needs, you also have to realize just how far you’ll be able to go to satisfy them without endangering your business growth plans. Ask yourself how many resources you have at hand and what your expected revenue is.
Create the design
At last, the fun stuff. You have all the information and now you start brainstorming and shaping ideas. Remember to evaluate each step, though, despite the fact that the testing phase is yet to happen. Match the wireframe you get with the user journey and storyboard for better insight. You’ll get to decide on colors, icons, images, language, tone, and accessibility features.
The ultimate way to perform evaluation is via usability testing with actual users. Once again, focus on both users’ and the company’s goals. Check if the product can solve users’ problems, if there are any issues during usage, if there is room for improvement, and how the results match the company’s aims.
If necessary, redo some of the steps in order to come up with a satisfying final product.
Best examples of user-centered products
Now that we’ve briefly gone over the most important checking points in human/user-centered design, let’s check out some of the most successful ones:
Spotify has around 456 million active users and keeps breaking records. In 2021, the platform earned about $10.6 billion. Neither of that would’ve been possible if it weren’t for the human-centered design.
With its personalized playlists, massive library, available lyrics, and extreme user-friendliness when it comes to organization, Spotify’s become the king of music streaming.
Toothbrush for kids
What’s so innovative about a kid’s toothbrush, you may ask? Well, until Oral-B hired a global design firm IDEO to create a human-centered design, they couldn’t boast about having the best-selling toothbrush for kids. What the creators did was research on the spot — they simply carefully observed a 5-year-old brushing his teeth and struggling with the grip. The observation pointed out the “obvious” fact: children need a bigger, squishy grip compared to adults. The rest is history.
You can’t help but feel encouraged to go shopping once you visit the Apple store’s website. You’ve got all products’ images nicely outlined, and you can even compare up to three models to make the final decision. That basically guarantees less stress when shopping on their website.
Examples of superb design abound, and they’re all around you. If you’ve bought a product or a service, chances are the company used human-centered design to create a user-centered product. Now, it’s your turn to do the same!