A Smashing Take on Human-Centered Design
Hello change agent! We’d like to take a guess that you’re moving innovative change forward within your company. In this process you’re most likely seeing the pain points your customers or employees are experiencing and are seeking to take action in order to generate a positive outcome. This very thinking is what human-centered design is all about. Human-centered design is a problem-solving approach that puts people first, and is embraced within every project generated here at Smashing Ideas. By having a people-first approach, we create new and inventive digital projects that see great success with end-users and in-market.
The process of human-centered design puts problem-solving first, and is a balance between design and research. We might even be as bold as to say a balance between art and science. At Smashing Ideas this balance happens throughout the duration of a product’s development. It begins with collaboration — between all vested parties, ranging from strategists, UX, and designers to developers and external strategic partners. While each team member’s contribution is allocated to their designated expertise, each person plays an equal role in the product’s creation.
Here’s a deeper look at how this works. Designers craft the visual layout of, say, an app screen, while working closely with a developer to make sure the functionality and motion design is aligned with the product’s vision and the client’s predefined brand standards. The strategy team helps keep the balance of the team’s entrepreneurial behavior within the bounds of the business goals. The development team builds towards a unique experience that is accessible and buildable by providing the team with insights into technical possibility and impossibility. Within all of these collaborative efforts and throughout the duration of the product the end-user’s needs are first and foremost.
One of the most critical components to the success of a project that human-centered design incorporates is research. While initial research is the most obvious, some of the most critical research is done while the project is being built. Research can look like usability testing, clinical trials, in-home shadowing, etc. — it’s working with and observing how consumers interact with a product before the final version hits the shelves. This allows the team to know the precise needs of the audience, in real-world scenarios, and then modify the product accordingly.
The benefit of incorporating human-centered design is multi-faceted. It identifies the real need of your customer, and the subsequent solution you can provide. And, a great customer experience means one very important thing for your product — long-term engagement. Long-term engagement creates brand loyalty. Brand loyalty equates to repeat business, giving you, change agent, market success.
Originally published at smashingideas.com on April 19, 2016.