An Introduction to Human-Centered Design

Design and user experience are the cornerstones of success in the Information Age

Many businesses have failed because they ignored user needs and desires, focusing instead on the “business end” of things. Design is an often overlooked component of product design. A good user experience should be at the foundation of a good product design. Design and user experience go hand-in-hand when it comes to product design.

User experience design enables to produce engaging designs, themes, and user-friendly content. Removing needless clutter, refinement of content, and making clear pathways of information all contribute to improving the general mood and character of an end user’s visit to your website or app. In fact, studies show that over 60% of the decisions we make about buying a cell phone, watching a movie, or applying for a job are made by the end user. Designing a smartphone app that meets this goal is essential.

Below are a few areas to consider in your mobile app design:

Human Factors Design deals with everything that a user experiences from first contact to using the app. Designers consider several core human factors when coming up with an idea for a new mobile application. These factors include: what problems does the application solve for end users, what is the interface, is the information accessible and clear, is the design friendly, does the app solve particular market or demographic problems, what are the challenges in using the application, etc. Designers also take human factors into consideration when researching and developing new mobile applications. For example, if you develop an app for medical device users to diagnose testicular cancer, will your app actually solve a specific problem or is it just another step in the medical professional’s journey.

Personas Designers uses persona design solutions to examine how a user perceives themselves. Designers observe personas of end users while conducting usability research. The observations are then translated into knowledge and design solutions that can be used in any application.

Usability Research A good user-centered design

Research Methodologies Designers uses empirical research methods to construct understanding from actual user research results. This methodology draws on the information available to designers in order to construct solutions that address actual problems, needs, and challenges faced by actual end users. For an organization to utilize the benefits of an empirical study design, there must be a strong research team in place. These researchers should conduct a comprehensive user-centered design process, collecting data and conducting relevant research.

Usability Research A good user-centered design process will incorporate several elements such as research, testing and user-centered design principles. However, designers also need to understand the limitations of a user-centered design, which is why organizations also conduct usability tests before introducing any application to the market. Although users do not have all the relevant requirements needed for a particular application, a well-structured usability test can identify critical functional areas that should be addressed in the product design.

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