How Human Centered Design Can Produce Better Products and a Better World

human centered design

You may have heard the term ‘human-centered design’ before. In fact, you probably have, since this is one of the major developments currently shaking up the design world. You might think that this is just another trend, or that it’s sort of self-evident that design would be centered around people. But this paradigm brings a lot to the table and is likely here to stay. We’ll talk about why that is. But before we can get into that it’s essential that you understand the basics of human centred design. 

What is Human Centered Design?

Human-centered design is exactly what it sounds like: design centered around humans and their wants and needs. It’s about designing products while always keeping the user in mind. This approach changes the process with which you design products. You don’t start with an idea and figure out later how this can help people. You start with a problem humans have and think of a solution which will come in the form of a product. This leads to better, more successful, and more profitable products. Oh, and it can also make the world a better place. identifies three phases in the human-centered design process. The first of which is the inspiration phase. This is the phase where you get to know the people you’re designing for, you immerse yourself in their lives, wants, and needs. You want to deeply understand what they are missing to make their lives easier, more enjoyable, or more fulfilling.

The next phase is known as the ideation phase, where you identify the problem and possible solutions for this problem. Here you put all the things you learned in the inspiration phase into perspective and make sense of it. This is when you start to create something, a product or prototype.

The last phase is the implementation phase where you find a solution and turn it into reality. This is when you bring the solution you created for the people to the market and can start making a change in someone’s life.

Now this process split up into three phases is only one way to interpret human-centered process. It’s a nice example of how you could implement human-centered design, but it’s not the only way. What matters is the focus on using design skills to address real world problems, to put innovation at the service of satisfying real needs.

Why Human Centred Design Works So Well

Happy customers

Customers have needs and wants when it comes to products, and human centred design can answer these. Customers will finally feel heard and feel as if they matter.Happy customers are good for business. Making and keeping your customers happy isn’t only beneficial for them but also for you as a company. Happy customers will make the sales go up as well as the loyalty they have towards you as a brand.

Happy customers are also happy people, and most regularly functioning human beings will agree that happiness is a good thing. Why not be in the business of making people happier?

Support is less necessary

A near universal human need is accessibility and ease of use. With designing a product focused on customer need comes creating a product that is easy to use. The user experience will be a lot better when you work with the human centred design process, and most likely your product will be much easier to use too. Of course, improving the user experience will make your customers a lot happier but it will also lower the need of a support or helpdesk.

When your clients are better capable of understanding how to use your product, they won’t need as much help using it. This could save you the hassle of setting up a support and training employees to work at it. This would also save you money: setting up a helpdesk with employees and having these trained isn’t free. Through saving money here, you could, for example, do a little more in research during the design process to further implement human-centered design

You improve your image as a brand

This one ties in again with having happier customers. Wouldn’t you think better of a brand when you know they design all their products with their users in mind? Especially these days, having a good brand image is key to standing strong in the market when there is so much competition.

It’s a flexible process

There is no one way to practice human-centered design. Different companies use the idea in the different ways. And this makes sense because you can’t use the same process for creating a new toothbrush as you do for creating a new medical device. There are various different ways of establishing procedural steps, like those given earlier, that can help guide you in your quest to develop ideas that help people. 

How to Implement Human-Centered Design

Change your mindset

A huge aspect of any design process is how you approach the problem intellectually. Creating products for the people instead of for yourself requires a different mindset. You need to be able to see the world from the perspective of the audience you’re designing for. Your goal is to create a product that can increase the quality of people’s lives. That should be your prime, unifying purpose. Avoid the temptation to include widgets and features that you think are super cool, but which do not contribute to that primary goal. The better able you are to focus on satisfying the needs of your target audience, you more likely you are of introducing a successful (and therefore profitable) product.

Integrate your customers every step of the way

Maybe you’re currently only integrating customers after the prototype has been made to get their feedback, but you must involve them in every step of the road. Before you even have an idea for a product you need to think of the people and what problems they are facing in their daily lives. This information you can use to create a solution in the form of a product. Now you can start integrating customers, their lifestyles and opinions step by step. 

Introduce some new research methods

Always start by finding problems that people are facing. Finding these problems takes some research. Good research requires a good research method. These can be as simple as interviewing people on what they need. It should also involve a great deal of market research. Many industrial design teams even include anthropologists and other experts in human behavior to help designers create solutions that are of maximum value. A golden rule of design is that there really is no such thing as too much data. 

We’ve covered quite a bit now when it comes to human-centered design, but there is a lot more to learn and discover. One of the best ways to incorporate human-centered design is to work with experienced industrial designers. This is where Cad Crowd comes in! We connect clients with top-tier, industry leading freelancers for projects of any size and scope. Send us your project for a free quote. We’ll analyze your requirements and connect you with a qualified product designer. Get started today!