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The human centered design is a process centered in people you are designing for and ends with design solutions that are tailored to suit their needs. 

This is a long design process that involves building empathy with people, generating ideas, building prototypes, and putting the design innovation as a solution to the world.

In this article, What is Human Centered Design, we will discuss in-depth what a human-design is, how we apply the design thinking in the process, and the 3 phases involved in design thinking.

What is human centered design thinking?

This is a term that product designers use to describe the process design for people. The aim is to develop solutions to the existing problems of the people, wherein the human perspective is involved in all the problem-solving processes. 

To better understand the idea surrounding the human-centered design, let’s look at the fundamentals of human centered design:

Focus on people

A good human centered design starts with the process of identifying the real reason why people want to use your product. And concerning this, answering this question: “who am I building this for?” will lead you to start thinking more about your audience and their needs. 

Find the right problem

Not all problems in design thinking are important. That is why you need to identify clearly all the fundamental problems in order to solve the root cause of the underlying problems. 

This process can take time and effort, but the better you conduct your research, the more time and energy you save in the long run. 

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Think of everything as a whole

When it comes to designing a human centered product, you always must see the bigger picture. This means you do not only focus on the part of creating a good user experience. Instead, you should also focus on other things related to that overall user experience. 

For example, when it comes to creating an e-commerce website, you only not focus on designing a smooth user flow, but also provide after sales solutions to extend that good user experience for shoppers. Always remember that good user experience should be present to all touchpoints. 

Always validate your decisions

No matter how much time you spend on research and prototyping, you should always validate your design decisions by testing your solution with real people. The results from the testing sessions will help you fully understand which parts of your design require improvements and changes.

How do you use a human centered design?

It is possible to design something great and works well (in theory). But when you and your team test it, it could be missing the main needs of your users.

This is where the human centered design is needed. This is a design process to address the needs of your user base. Let us take a look at the 3 phases involved in the humanized design.

What are the 3 phases of human centered design?

3 phases of human centered design

IMAGE SOURCE: Emergent Media

Phase 1 – Getting inspiration from your target audience

This phase is all about understanding human needs, specifically your target users. Paying attention to your users will bring about the best solutions. Through conversation and observation, you will benefit from understanding your users’ problems and needs. 

In this phase, it is important to remove all notions about your users and remove all specific outcomes you have in mind. Instead, focus on your users and open yourself to a wide range of possible solutions.   

Some of the common research methods used in this phase include user interviews, secondary research, and planning the steps and milestones.  

Phase 2 – Create and Ideate

After conducting your user research and coming up with findings, the second phase is about visualizing, retargeting, brainstorming, and discussing all potential solutions.

This phase calls for jotting down all your ideas, regardless of how flawed or impractical they are. Doing this will help you and your users see what works and what’s not. 

You do not need to start with expensive prototypes but just basic sketches or small-scale models to help tap your creativity.  

The goal of this phase is to get the feedback that you need and have gathered your best ideas early, which helps you get through the product development stage easier, with fewer problems to encounter.  

Phase 3 – Testing and Implementation  

The goal of phase 1 and phase 2 is to prepare and set the ground for you and your team to find a concept that feels right before moving forward and spending money to build and run your prototypes. 

This is the pre-production phase; wherein the high-end prototype is put together for user testing. For web development and app-based projects, this phase is also about the actual making of the product.  

This phase is also a good time to craft a business model around a concept, create partnerships, and prepare the product for real-world use.

Final thoughts

In a saturated world where people have become demanding of their needs and technology savvy and reliant, it is important to apply human centered design in terms of creating a product for the end-users. 

A human centered design also gains your users’ trust, builds up loyalty, and brand recognition in the long run. For small-scale companies, applying human centered design is a good foundation. For large, multinational corporations, adopting and creating human centered design thinking aligns multi-disciplinary teams to center their efforts to the real needs of their users. No doubt, applying human centered design thinking helps companies stay relevant to the needs of their users.

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Mary Ann Dalangin

About the author

A content marketing strategist and a UX writer with years of experience in the digital marketing industry.

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