All human-centered software design can be boiled down to three essential activities:

  1. Researching the people and situations relevant to the project
  2. Designing the software
  3. Testing the design of the software to find out what works and what doesn’t

The detailed process used will change depending on your project: Is it big or small? A new product or a redesign? Is it for external customers or internal employees? And so on. Designers have multiple skills and methods, and they combine them differently to serve each project. For examples see the Small, Medium, and Big Project chapters.

In a nutshell, the overall project approach can be summed up as:

  • The project starts with something like a brief that summarizes the challenge and aligns the team to the desire outcome.
  • Research works to understand the customer
  • The research is analyzed to highlight insights
  • The team generates ideas about what to create
  • Prototypes are made and tested with customers
  • The cycle of research-idea-prototype-test continues until the team is satisfied with the results.

Next we’ll look in detail at the brief.