User Centred design (UCD), also known as user-driven development is the process of gaining a deep understanding of the product at the heart of it’s design for achieving goals, performing tasks, usability, function and addressing the user-experience as a whole with the user at the core of the development.
This is very important, as we can see below.
The consequence of not employing the user at the centre of design is clear.
For web design, software development and general every day design of products to be functional, the developer and designer needs to be able to address each issue and potential issue from the stand point of a first-time user.
The ultimate goal of the Use Centred Design philosophy is to optimize the product to the tastes, preference and desires of the product as opposed to forcing change on part of the user to accommodate the product.
The general phases of the User Centred Design are:
- Specifying context of use: Identification of primary product users, use, requirements and environment of use.
- Specify requirements: After identifying context, approaching the smaller details by use of storyboards, behaviour flow charts and important goals works to develop a more successful product.
- Create design solutions and development: Based on the goals, requirement and context, starting the process of design and development
- Evaluation: Performing usability testing, gathering feedback and discovering any usability and function issues which may be prevalent.
The three overreaching elements that are taken into consideration in the process are:
Audience: demographic, ethnicity, gender, education, etc
Purpose: The function of the product, the goal.
Context: The situation prompting the need.
We keep the user at the centre of our design process. Creating a solution to a need by incorporating the phases and elements of UCD in the design and development stage will ensure that the product will be fit for purpose, accessible and targeted.
We hope this has given you a small insight into the way User Centred Design is used, particularly within the field of software development and web design.