When developing products like a website, a mobile app, or software, it is essential to put the customer at the front, center, and end of the design process. After all, it is their experience that matters. This is why user-centric design has become so popular in recent years.
User-centric design is an approach that puts the user at the heart of the product and focuses on meeting users’ expectations. By fulfilling users’ expectations, designers can increase customer satisfaction.
In the days of yore, companies didn’t pay any attention to solving customer problems or meeting
user expectations. It was all profit. Most products didn’t meet users’ needs, and in some cases, customers had to figure out how to use their products. Sometimes, companies even launched products without any customer demand.
Things have changed. Nowadays, products must be usable, accessible, and easy to understand. Companies are now using research to develop products that are easy to use and appeal to our natural instincts.
In this article, we will explore user-centric design and discuss strategies to create user-friendly products.
What is user-centric design?
The process involves extensive customer research and continuously developing ideas, prototypes, and testing. The product design and development process should also be aligned with the company’s business goals.
For example, when designing an e-commerce website, designers should ensure customers can find a specific product easily and add it to their cart with a few clicks. Designers should also ensure visitors can quickly find the shopping cart and payment processing page. This aligns with the company’s goal of increasing revenue.
User-centric design Vs. human-centered design
UCD requires a thorough understanding of the users who will be using your product. You need to investigate and research your target audience’s attitudes and behaviors to develop the right solutions for specific problems. UCD is all about creating delightful experiences for customers to create value.
On the other hand, human-centered design prioritizes human needs and critical social issues affecting communities. It aims to solve problems that impact people’s daily lives to improve their quality of life.
A great example of a human-centered design is a fitness tracker like Fitbit. The inventors of this product acknowledged people have difficulties tracking and achieving their fitness goals. Hence they designed a helpful and sustainable solution. The product caters to the user’s needs by providing information on the number of calories burnt and motivating them to exercise more.
Another excellent example of a user-centric design is Netflix. Netflix is the most preferred streaming service for most people. Its success lies in its remarkable user-friendly user interface and personalized recommendations. It delivers content based on the user’s watch history.
Netflix does this exceptionally well with their algorithm-based recommendations, such as “you might like this” lists and a simple user interface and seamless user experience across the web, mobile phone, and TV apps.
The user-centric design process
The UCD process is composed of several steps:
Context of use
Specify user requirements
Test and validate
Monitor and update
The idea is to use the insights accumulated from the testing stages to enhance the product and make further improvements.
For example, if you’re designing a website, you need to understand how users interact with your website, how easy it is for them to navigate, and how to help the visitors get what they want from the website. Using website analytics, you can understand how visitors move around the pages and whether particular pages are driving them away. These insights can be used to make adjustments and improvements.
Individuals with varying backgrounds and expertise in the design process of user-centric design projects lead to more innovative design decisions. It is advisable to involve designers, stakeholders, developers, as well as marketing, business, and sales departments.
Additionally, team members can improve their abilities by collaborating with other departments, enhancing their overall capabilities.