People will embrace your ideas when you design from their perspective. That’s what Human Centered Design pursuits. Also referred to as “participatory design”, this kind of approach focus on final users needs, behaviors, feelings, thinking and emotions, placing them just right in the center of the Design process.
Achieving that kind of deeper and ongoing connection with users will provide them with real value, solving their problems, needs or real desires and making sure our products will succeed. It is the inversion of the typical industrial design approach. This last model one was successful in the previous consumer era but, at this point, only leads to failure. Design in isolation or based on assumptions will only end up in big mistakes.
In other words, Human Centered Design is the same as believing that the key to human problems is hidden in humans themselves.
The 5 keys to Human Centered Design
If you are going to adopt Human Centered Design as a way of thinking, you can start by keeping these 5 aspects in mind.
* Research is a fundamental part of understanding humans. Asking the right questions before designing would lead us to the right answers. And the 3 more important questions are:
* What do we aim with the product?
* What does the product solve?
* How can we measure success?
* Learning and understanding, always as a mindset. Knowing that we can make mistakes and that this is a continuous learning process would be our start to Human Centered Design mindset. We are going to perform “experiments”, expecting to learn from them.
* Empathy and collaboration are two other aspects that we can’t pass by. You have to enter different worlds, cultures and contexts. Immerse yourself in the life of different people and communities. Involvement of the customer will be a must in all stages of design, so that our product will be more likely to accomplish all demands.
* Respect privacy and life quality. As a part of being empathetic with users, your concern about their safety will automatically grow.
* Finding the balance. Remember that even if we are basing our design in end-users, the product doesn’t have to be only desirable, but also feasible with available technology and viable for business. The intersection between those three areas will point out to our final solution. Embrace ambiguity and try out different possibilities that may match this requirement.
Human – Centered Design is Personalization
When we design with a Human Centered approach we know humans are all different, so our final outcome will necessarily imply some kind of customization level. Lately we encountered a great example with Soma Innofit, the device that measures breast sizes that we mentioned on our CES review blog post. This awesome wearable device suggests the best-fitting bras for each woman. The brand has come to know that the experience of buying a bra and find the right size or shape can be stressful, as women bodies are all different and don’t necessarily match a standard model. In this case, instead of designing the bra that the brand believes is the best, they perform a “research” or ask trough “Soma Innofit” and solve the special needs for each customer.
We won’t get it right at once, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, with optimism iteration by iteration as our guide through the whole process, we can guarantee you’ll arrive at the best possible sustainable and human solution.