Understanding The User Centered Design Process
what is this user centered design? why does it matter? UCD (user centered design) is important because great digital experiences are created by thinking about how the end user will engage with your product from concept to design process. UCD entails conducting research with the intended users to gain a better understanding and getting to the root of what the main goal is for the design and to offer a better experience for the user of the product.
User-centred design (UCD) is a framework of processes (not restricted to interfaces or technologies) in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product, service or process are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. User-centred design can be characterized as a multi-stage problem solving process that not only requires designers to analyse and foresee how users are likely to use a product, but also to test the validity of their assumptions with regard to user behavior in real world tests with actual users at each stage of the process from requirements, concepts, pre-production models, mid production and post production creating a circle of proof back to and confirming or modifying the original requirements. Such testing is necessary as it is often very difficult for the designers of a product to understand intuitively what a first-time user of their design experiences, and what each user’s learning curve may look like.
The process of UCD
Getting to know your user begins with the research circle, which can be horrible at times, this circle starts of with the research and test phase which this will help you to know your user a little bit better. This stage could start of with evaluating and looking at existing products, websites and other design forms to gain a better insight into the issues or competitor products. This will be a good time to talk to users about there needs and how they organize their offline approach to the subject.
The next step is to group all the information conducted and put together into your initial design – this will provide you with lots of inspiration and help with the decision making process. The design process involves wireframes, Sketching, Information Architecture, Personas, Task Models and Mood boards to help weave the user insight into compelling prototypes and designs.
And research again…
Once you have the design candidate completed, then the testing stage begins, you will need to evaluate its worth, does it get the results that you were looking at during the research stage, does it have appeal, complete any transactions, users can find what they are looking for. If these or other questions that you may have cannot be meet then the research, design and evaluate stage can be done over again to get the user centered design process right.