Human-centered design (HCD) is a design and management framework. The framework is useful for many different businesses and systems, but the current is mainly in Social welfare systems and health related systems.

If you start considering human perspective in design and development of a product or service, it becomes HCD. The main steps of HCD are

• Understand a problem with context
• Brainstorming
• Conceptualising
• Developing
• Implementing the solution

Human-centered design is a creative approach to interactive systems development. The approach aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, designing around their needs and requirements at all stages. It applies human factors/ergonomics, usability knowledge, and techniques. This approach improves effectiveness and efficiency, human well-being, accessibility, sustainability and user satisfaction. It may be helpful to find freelancers to assign the requirement gathering task.

Consequent stages may then focus on community brainstorming, modeling and prototyping, and implementation in community spaces. Further, the human-centered design typically focuses on integrating technology or other useful tools to alleviate problems, especially around issues of health.

The Rationale for Adopting HCD:

Using a human-centered approach to design and development has substantial economic & social benefits for users, employers, and suppliers.

In some areas like consumer products, the buyers will pay a premium for well-designed products and systems with great user experience. The cost of supporting and maintaining the product get reduced when users can understand the product well and use products on their own. In most countries, employers and suppliers are mandated by law to protect users from risks to their health and safety. The human-centered methods can reduce or eliminate these risks.

Systems Designed Considerations:

• Increasing the productivity of users and the operational efficiency of organizations
• Easy to use and understand and should reduce the training and support costs
• Increase usability for people with a wider range of capabilities
• Improve User Experience and reduce stress
• Provide a competitive advantage
• contributing towards sustainability objectives

The HCD is useful in multiple fields, including sociological sciences and technology. It is very much possible to use the HCD in a variety of fields rather than only product and technology-based fields.

Typically, the HCD is more focused on methodologies and interactions with people in such a manner as to facilitate the detection of their needs and wants. We will also see in this article about a similar concept which is known as UCD.

Future Advances in Human-Centered Design

The human-centered design has been both lauded and critiqued for its ability to actively problem solve with affected communities. Also, human-centered design often considers context but does not offer tailored approaches for very specific groups of people. New research on innovative approaches includes youth-centered health design, which focuses on youth as the central aspect.

Methods Created by Design Companies:

Every design firm or has their design process. There are different disciplines which use different language and techniques, but all these processes are very similar. Some examples are frog, IEO, Design for America and LUMA System of Innovating for People.

International Standards related to HCD:

Human-centered design processes for interactive systems ISO standard was 13407:1999, which is revised with ISO 9241-210:2010 and is called as the Ergonomics of human-system interaction, Part 210 which is for Human-centred design for interactive systems.

Other Considerations:

It may not be possible to go out on the field and take user feedback for the solutions you implemented, but that is very crucial to the success of HCD. The key assumptions need to be validated, and you also have to find opportunities for progress and new ideas. The primary prototypes often initiate conversations than fully realised designs. Interactive prototypes allow for less directed feedback. Making the user feedback as a routine input helps in HCD initiatives.

While designing solutions using HCD, the designer needs to think of extroverted design process. It means the team has to get involved in the design with different perspectives and thinking from user angle and in different frames of references. Thinking of the solution design as a team is critical to HCD.

The concept of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is very famous for Startups. This iterative and agile process merges seamlessly with a design-driven, human-centered approach. Before you launch your MVP, think about what prototypes you can create cheaply to address your biggest product assumptions.

These are iterative tests, meaning the tests are repeated multiple times after every minor change to the product or service. There are many automated tools available to carry out these tests. MVP is a good method while implementing the HCD. The freelance gigs can be involved here.

We will also try to understand the UCD in short. The User-centered design (UCD) or user-driven development (UDD) is a framework of processes in which the requirements and limitations of end users of a product, service or process are given far-reaching attention at each stage of the process.

The UCD is a problem-solving process with multiple steps. It requires the designers to specifically analyse and foresee how users are likely to use a product. It also requires the freelance designers to test the validity of their assumptions. It requires constant confirming the assumptions or modifying the original requirements.

There is the main difference in HCD & UCD. The UCD reflects the human role in product use but focuses mainly on the production of interactive technology around the user’s physical qualities. The HCD has its main focus on the social problem-solving.

The key difference from other product design philosophies is that user-centered design tries to optimize the product around how users are using the product, rather than forcing the users to change their conduct to accommodate the product features.

Summary:

With that comparison in mind, you can take a call on when to use the Human-centered design and how to use it effectively. While the Startups are providing many new services and products, you need to remember the benefits of using designs like HCD in your products. The HCD analysis can be a freelance work. When the entire focus is on users than the technology or specifications of the product, consider this framework. Even if you are in technological Startups, you can consider using HCD, as the user experience (known as UX in Tech World) is most important over here.

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