human centered design
Analysis & Design

Human-centered design – key to an IT product’s success

date: 31 March 2022
reading time: 4 min

Human-Centered Design is a philosophy that can take your company’s projects and products to a completely new, higher level. In this article we speak about this human face of technology to see why it is key to every IT product’s success.

The human face of technology

In today’s digital era, we tend to trust technological advancements no matter what we do. After all, the age of technology calls for advanced solutions, and businesses are focused on delivering them. Yet statistics show that as much as 70% of all projects fail. Why? Because many of them do not take into consideration needs of end-users. Human-centered design is all about them.

What is Human-Centered Design?

Before we look into the advantages of human-centered design, let’s start with the definition.

Human-centered design, also known as HCD, is an approach to problem-solving based on philosophy which empowers design that addresses the core needs of those who experience certain problems. It starts with the people you are designing for and ends with solutions that respond to their problems.

Used in design, management, and engineering frameworks, Human-Centered Design is characterised by involving empathy and human perspective in all steps of the design process, from observing the problem and analysing its context, through brainstorming possible solutions to developing, early testing, and implementing the products.

Its main goal is to make the systems and solutions usable and useful to users, which in turn enhances effectiveness and efficiency and improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility, and sustainability.

The human-centered design was championed by Herbert Simon, Nobel Prize laureate, and later developed and taught by the Stanford University Design School. It is a ground-breaking solution as it allows businesses to look at their problems from the human perspective.

A great example of a life-changing product that was designed to respond to customers’ needs is Spotify.

Why is Human-Centered Design key to the success of IT products?

No matter whether you are working on an app or software, your products will always be used by people, and it is people that you should have in mind when designing them, not profits, savings or looks, as it used to be done traditionally.

If you fail to take your customers into consideration and if you don’t engage with them, your products are doomed to fail. In contrast, when you focus on thinking about end-users, you are more open to changes, feedback, and innovative solutions. After all, you are working on products that may possibly improve people’s lives!

How to apply Human-Centered Design principles in the product development process?

When designing IT products, the key is to understand the people who will be using them. Without that, products simply fail. It is therefore crucially important to always ask smart questions and involve end-customer from the very start of the design process so that you can get the right feedback and make changes as the product develops.

The Human-Centered Design process consists of three phases:

  • Inspiration, where you need to engage with your target audience to understand their problems, pain points, and what they think may make their lives better.

  • Ideation means brainstorming on how to address the problem in an innovative way. The golden rule here is that there is no such thing as a bad idea. That’s done, you tweak and change the ideas to come up with a vision for a product that could solve the problem you were thinking about in the first place. This phase is also about creating a prototype and testing it on your end-users, making sure you take all feedback on board.

  • Implementation, so the time of making the products and marketing them.

How to implement HCD principles in your organisation or in your own projects?

Once you know HCD is something you want to implement within your organisation, start thinking about the process of doing it. As is the case when introducing an agile framework, implementing HCD in your business may take a bit of time. Start slowly, for example by using HCD in just one of the products you are developing.

See how it goes – when you test it on a smaller thing, it will be much easier to implement it later across the whole organisation.

At Future Processing, we can help you understand where you are, where you want to get and how to do it. If you are keen to implement the human-centered design in your company, a good start may be one of our discovery or IT strategy workshops. It is where we analyse your business and start asking questions needed to make a change. Keen to know more? Get in touch with us to discuss your needs!

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