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Human-Centered Design in a pill and why it is the way to build websites and applications

Human-Centered Design is one of the most popular buzzwords in nowadays projects. It can be virtually applied to any field: from products, websites, applications, or numerous services. But currently, IT is the area to explore it the most. What is Human-Centered Design and how can we benefit from adopting this method?

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Human in the center of every project phase - in a shortcut this is the clue of Human-Centered Design. The final user (not product owner) decides on the pitch of product development. He’s engaged in the process starting from research, thorough testing of every iteration, and evaluating solutions. His remarks and tips have an impact on product functionality, resulting in a product deeply oriented to fulfill end-user requirements.

Human-Centered Design methods - what about practice?

The effectiveness of Human-Centered Design comes from deep and direct cooperation between the team and the customer.

  1. Understanding - to know who is the final user persona and what is the purpose of the product.
  2. Defining - to know requirements for the product.
  3. Designing - to create solutions for requirements.
  4. Evaluating - to review requirements.

What elements of Human-Centered Design are used with project methodologies?

  1. Personas are fictional characters that are created to represent the user of the product.Human-Centered Design allows creating personas with different traits within the sametarget group (i.e. teenagers from cities and from the countryside). How is it helpful? Themain goal is to simplify the decision-making process and for example, do not work ongood but unnecessary features.
  2. Scenarios help to crystallize context why our product is used, together with goals ofusers (i.e. teenagers are going to visit our science blog for school help).
  3. Those are lists of actions and interactions that are included in scenarios. The purpose ofuse cases is to confirm how users are reaching the goals set in scenarios. Use caseshelp to simplify and to keep track of scenarios.
  4. Prototypes are used to build test models that confirm our pivot and approach. Thanks tothe Human-Centered Design approach, this takes a minimal amount of effort and a shorttime to deliver by creating low and high-fidelity prototypes.
  5. User testing allows us to make a final confirmation that our product works well, users arehappy with it and are using it the way that we expected. Depending on this step resultsin the Human-Centered Design approach we iterate the product process once more totest again or build the final product.

Human-Centered Design versus Design Thinking

There are a few concepts that are misunderstood or should not be connected toHuman-Centered Design. One of them is Design Thinking. True, both methods have a lot incommon, yet in the practice, we use different processes. The biggest common trait is the factthat a particular meaning of Human-Centered Design and Design Thinking is to set humanusers as the most important part of the project. Although the difference between them is thatHuman-Centered Design scopes for highly usable products, whereas Design Thinking strivesfor innovative and creative solutions for complex problems - so-called “wicked problems”.

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