Understanding the user-centered design and its principles
Although the technologies evolve and change, for any product or service online (and, in general, any design that a user can see and use) there are a series of questions that always ask the development teams, and to which they must respond to maximize the quality and potential of success of their resulting products. These are questions such as: Is it easy for users to perform basic tasks at the first time they use the design? Once you know it, can you perform complex tasks quickly? How many mistakes do users make? Is it nice to use it? The user-centered design ensures that it is possible to respond positively to this type of questions. This article presents its basic concepts and compiles key information so that those with special interest in this specialty area can orient themselves and deepen their study and practice.
What exactly is the user-centered design?
The user-centered design consists in focusing the design of a product with the necessary information that the people to whom it is directed will need. The functionality provided by the objects is much greater, since they adjust to the needs that users are looking for, answering questions about who will use that object and for what purpose.
What is the used-centered design composed of?
The design of the object is based on previously understanding the users, the tasks and the environment in which they are used. The design process includes users using the objects and seeing if they respond to the design of the products. Subsequently, the design team includes other relevant aspects.
These would be some of the main features of the user-centered design:
– Specify the context of use. Identify the people who will use the object, why they will use it and under what circumstances.
– Include the requirements. Those requirements that both companies and users seek to achieve the established expectations.
– Develop solutions. This process must be carried out in the different phases of product development.
– Evaluate the design. Evaluate before launching the product to the market is necessary to check the viability of the product.
But there are often confusions among various user experiences on the website, which are often not directly related to the design. Although these experiences tend to be satisfactory, what is meant by user-centered design is to be able to meet all the needs of those who visit the web.
How do we carry out the user-centered design?
Even so, creating a product focusing on the needs of the user is not enough; we also have to look for the real needs that this product can bring to the market. For this we have to carry out studies and evaluate the responses of the users.
For example, we can perform such a test. The test should be performed by users with a new product to detect possible failures and errors that have been made. The test can be done individually or in groups, to know how the design object will be used. Once we have obtained feedback from all the participants, we will know if the design of the products is the most appropriate or the opposite, we will have to modify it.
On the other hand we can also conduct ethnographic studies, in which we see a sector of the population using our product and seeing how they integrate it into their day to day. This will help us to see the functionality it provides to society.
Other methods to know if we are developing our products well are interviews and surveys. The first ones serve to evaluate the immediate response as an individual, while the second ones help us to quantify the number of people who would use that product.
Why should you implement a user-centered design?
As already mentioned, just like the user experience within our own website, the user-centered design will allow us to save costs in producing products that are destined to fail. In addition, being able to perform a / b tests with them will help to improve the deficiencies that the team could not detect while developing it.
Once you have a website focused on the user, you can’t forget to write the content of the site centered on the user. For all this you need a solid and quality training where you will not only manage your business but also the benefits you will get with the improvement of the user experience.
Yes! You need such a training but before starting anything, you must know the principles of user-centered design.
Principles of user-centered design
The design, whatever the object of it, has to be based on the user, and the user can be any individual. Based on the above explanations, we already know that the principles of user-centered design are nothing more than a reformulation of the most elementary principles of Classical Ergonomics and from those derive, in general, the accessibility guides.
Unfortunately, there are many designers who do not notice this circumstance, and it is convenient to explain certain aspects that will provide a broader perspective, without doubt, to these principles.Others, simply, will consider the approach unviable. But do not confuse yourself: nobody can make an absolutely accessible product. It can be done, in any case, more accessible, but there will always be people who can’t use it. These principles, then, should serve to increase the care and understanding of designers when considering certain questions. Designers must keep these principles in mind continuously.The control of the situation must be in the hands of the user:
– It is the user who initiates the actions and controls the tasks.
– The user must have the opportunity to customize the interface.
– The system should be as interactive as possible, facilitating the change and management of its modes.
A direct approach is necessary:
– The user has to check how their actions affect the output of the system.
– The accessibility of information and options will reduce the mental work load of the user.
– A meaning is associated with a better object than with a command, as long as the association is appropriate.
Consistency is an indispensable part of the design:
– It has to facilitate the application of the knowledge acquired prior to the development of new tasks, which in turn will translate into a rapid learning.
– Consistency and stability will translate into ease of use.
Hopefully this post can provide new knowledge for you and may eliminate some of your misconceptions about how user-centered design works.