User-Centered Design 101

By | January 3, 2012

Wikipedia - “In broad terms, user-centered design (UCD) or pervasive usability [1] is a design philosophy and a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. User-centered design can be characterized as a multi-stage problem solving process that not only requires designers to analyze and foresee how users are likely to use a product, but also to test the validity of their assumptions with regards to user behaviour in real world tests with actual users. Such testing is necessary as it is often very difficult for the designers of a product to understand intuitively what a first-time user of their design experiences, and what each user’s learning curve may look like.”

At high-level you may evaluate below steps for creating a User-Centered Design:

  1. Recognize that business results depend on making your users happy – Satisfy User’s Goal
  2. Realize that you are not your users – Let go the Ego
  3. Learn about your users by interacting with them- Interviews, Field Studies, Usability tests, Surveys, Site Analysis
  4. Make findings of research understandable and actionable – Useful, Usable, Sharable, Memorable, Actionable
  5. Make decisions based on the user knowledge captured in above steps – Compare What you build, How it works, What users expect, What you present, What you communicate

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