The focus of human-centered innovation and design is ultimately to solve problems for people, and this process has never been more common than it is today. It places emphasis on humans’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors—their everyday lives. It puts its end users at the forefront of the industrial design process and involves them throughout product development, rather than presenting users with a finished product to test out.
Human-centered design helps create remarkable products by learning about the product’s end user: stepping into their shoes, working to understand their wants, their needs, and their problems, and seeing life from their perspective. Products created through human-centered innovation and design processes allow their users to live their lives more effortlessly. Think how much better their life would be with your product.
Getting Involved in the Process
Human-centered design begins with designers getting involved closely with the end users’ problem that the designers are trying to solve. They research and observe the problem in the end users’ lives, and document the surrounding context so they can consider when, how, and where a new product might be used. Later, designers create a persona, or a fictional character that represents a user of the product, and walk through the various steps that user would go through while discovering and engaging with the product from start to finish. In the process of creating a customer journey map, designers imagine how a user becomes aware of the product, considers its benefits, converts to being a customer, becomes loyal to the product, and advocates for the product (and/or company) by recommending the product to others in their life who may benefit from using the product as well.
Designers following human-centered design will ask questions and seek feedback from users every step of the way in order to create a successful product with the most effective design possible. By continuously seeking to learn about the end users and the ins and outs of their everyday lives and struggles, the design team can use this desire to learn to their advantage. Their work is driven by empathy and the passion to provide the ideal solution that will satisfy the users’ needs.
Incorporating User Feedback
Feedback from users (or potential users) is critical, and what better way to get feedback than have people test out your product? While it can be tempting to wait to begin testing until your product is nearly perfect, don’t hold off on product testing. It’s best to get the product into the hands of a group for testing so you can continue to make improvements and keep learning about the users’ needs. Working to incorporate client feedback also makes for an efficient process, saving time and effort on various iterations of a product that doesn’t fully solve the end users’ problem.
In one unique example of human-centered design, a watch company based in Australia hired a team of U.S. military veterans to help design a new watch that serves the needs of service personnel with precise military specifications in mind. The watch design has been approved by the U.S. military and is now assembled in the United States by military veterans.
The human-centered design process is necessary to become trustworthy in the eyes of consumers and especially in order to have loyal users who become advocates for your product and your company. Designers following this strategy are firm believers that the end goal of human-centered design is not merely to create a product but to improve human lives. This may seem overwhelming when all you want to do is create a new product and sell it; some businesses find it useful to outsource their product design and development services to ease the strain on their internal teams and increase their likelihood of success.
At CHOI Design, our team of experts can work with your business to create remarkable products through a human-centered design process. If you’re interested in learning how we can help, contact us today.