Role of human-centric design in developing a successful product.

Human-Centred Design philosophy in User Experience Design involves a start to end process that helps to make a product which is successful from user’s point of view. It is not just about how visually beautiful the product looks but also about making it accessible to the users. Not understanding user patterns, behaviours, and not doing a strong user research leads to the problem. Introduction UX Design literally means User Experience design, which is a process to create products that supply meaningful and relevant experience to users. User Experience Design should be connected to humans (should be more human centric) and it should not be like a machine speaking a machine language to someone who cannot understand it. How people can feel that the product that they are interacting with is another human talking to them! Since 1990s Human Centred Design and User Centred Design were often overlapping phrases regarding the fusion of humans (end users) with a product’s design system. Similar to many other design methods Human Centred Design first saw its rise in technological and product design fields. Human Centred Design started to grip the design fields around late in 1990s when the development of design methods shifted from a tech-driven product to a more humanised one. Human Centred Design (HCD) is an attempt to develop design systems that aim to make it accessible and useful for the targeted users by focusing on them, their core needs, problems, and requirements and by applying humanised factors like human psychology, usability, accessibility knowledge and techniques. The most notable thing is that HCD is an assumption-free design process! Context User Experience Design, as the name suggests is the experience of users that they get after and while using a product. Now a days while designing a product, designers think about almost all the aspects like responsiveness, accessibility, portability etc. But a designer often is caught into his/her own world of imaginations, he/she starts thinking about what looks good in a design at his/her personal level. This is the biggest mistake that could possibly be committed while on the way to create a successful product. A designer is not the user. He/she needs to understand human psychology, learn about users-their behaviours, patterns. A superior design must be created to fulfil the needs of the users and to create such a design user research is particularly important. Human psychology plays a leading role in design. Anything a designer creates is for others to use and people use it to complete a task. There is a plethora of similar kinds of products present on the market, what makes people select one over the other. Remember their task is not changing, it is the various products that give them different experiences and they choose the one which gives them the best one. Human centred design seems a pretty fancy expression. To put it in simple words, it is an ideology that empowers an individual or team or organisation to design products, services, systems, and experiences that put forward the core needs/solutions for those who experience the problem. One misconception that persists is that of design is about making a product good-looking. Undoubtedly, colours, typography, layouts, and graphics — the classic elements of visual design — play a leading role in the overall impact a digital product experience has on its users. But pixel perfect mock-ups and screen friendly UI elements are just one part of a well-designed product. These are important to put a likeable impression on people and to grab their attention. But once they are into your product, that do not care about how visually beautiful it is. They only tend to complete their task with minimal number of steps. If the product is not helping them in reaching their desired goal, they will at once sign off and you will end up losing one of your potential customers. The success of a product does not only depend on usability and enhancement alone. Certain products which are usable, useful, findable, accessible, credible, valuable, and desirable are more likely to grab potential user base and succeed in the market. Case study (Airbnb Design) Founded in August 2008 Airbnb was not a success start-up. In 2009, people at Airbnb decided to shut down the company. Just like many small start-ups they did launch but people barely noticed them. The company’s revenue was hardly touching $200 per week. After investing a lot of money into the product, the founders were faced with a do or die situation. They had to make a decision that could change company’s fate. Reimagining and rethinking helped them to identify where did the problem lay. After answering questions like “what wasn’t working, why they weren’t growing” they figured out the problem. They noticed a pattern, there was a similarity in the listed items in the product, and the similarity was that the photos of the properties were really bad because property owners were using p

Role of human-centric design in developing a successful product.
Human-Centred Design philosophy in User Experience Design involves a start to end process that helps to make a product which is successful from user’s point of view. It is not just about how visually beautiful the product looks but also about making it accessible to the users. Not understanding user patterns, behaviours, and not doing a strong user research leads to the problem.

Introduction

UX Design literally means User Experience design, which is a process to create products that supply meaningful and relevant experience to users. User Experience Design should be connected to humans (should be more human centric) and it should not be like a machine speaking a machine language to someone who cannot understand it. How people can feel that the product that they are interacting with is another human talking to them!

Since 1990s Human Centred Design and User Centred Design were often overlapping phrases regarding the fusion of humans (end users) with a product’s design system. Similar to many other design methods Human Centred Design first saw its rise in technological and product design fields. Human Centred Design started to grip the design fields around late in 1990s when the development of design methods shifted from a tech-driven product to a more humanised one.

Human Centred Design (HCD) is an attempt to develop design systems that aim to make it accessible and useful for the targeted users by focusing on them, their core needs, problems, and requirements and by applying humanised factors like human psychology, usability, accessibility knowledge and techniques. The most notable thing is that HCD is an assumption-free design process!

Context

User Experience Design, as the name suggests is the experience of users that they get after and while using a product. Now a days while designing a product, designers think about almost all the aspects like responsiveness, accessibility, portability etc. But a designer often is caught into his/her own world of imaginations, he/she starts thinking about what looks good in a design at his/her personal level. This is the biggest mistake that could possibly be committed while on the way to create a successful product. A designer is not the user. He/she needs to understand human psychology, learn about users-their behaviours, patterns. A superior design must be created to fulfil the needs of the users and to create such a design user research is particularly important.

Human psychology plays a leading role in design. Anything a designer creates is for others to use and people use it to complete a task. There is a plethora of similar kinds of products present on the market, what makes people select one over the other. Remember their task is not changing, it is the various products that give them different experiences and they choose the one which gives them the best one. Human centred design seems a pretty fancy expression. To put it in simple words, it is an ideology that empowers an individual or team or organisation to design products, services, systems, and experiences that put forward the core needs/solutions for those who experience the problem.

One misconception that persists is that of design is about making a product good-looking. Undoubtedly, colours, typography, layouts, and graphics — the classic elements of visual design — play a leading role in the overall impact a digital product experience has on its users. But pixel perfect mock-ups and screen friendly UI elements are just one part of a well-designed product. These are important to put a likeable impression on people and to grab their attention. But once they are into your product, that do not care about how visually beautiful it is. They only tend to complete their task with minimal number of steps. If the product is not helping them in reaching their desired goal, they will at once sign off and you will end up losing one of your potential customers.

The success of a product does not only depend on usability and enhancement alone. Certain products which are usable, useful, findable, accessible, credible, valuable, and desirable are more likely to grab potential user base and succeed in the market.

Case study (Airbnb Design)

Founded in August 2008 Airbnb was not a success start-up. In 2009, people at Airbnb decided to shut down the company. Just like many small start-ups they did launch but people barely noticed them. The company’s revenue was hardly touching $200 per week. After investing a lot of money into the product, the founders were faced with a do or die situation. They had to make a decision that could change company’s fate. Reimagining and rethinking helped them to identify where did the problem lay. After answering questions like “what wasn’t working, why they weren’t growing” they figured out the problem. They noticed a pattern, there was a similarity in the listed items in the product, and the similarity was that the photos of the properties were really bad because property owners were using phone camera, also there were not enough photos that could convince users to make a decision. Of course, why would people pay for something which they do not know completely. Gebbia (co-founder Airbnb) said, “It actually wasn’t a surprise that people weren’t booking rooms because you couldn’t even really see what it is that you were paying for.”

The founder’s team took the flight to New York and upgraded all the images to high resolution quality pictures. Just upgrading the pictures doubled their revenue to $400 per week. This was the first light of hope for the team which later on would create a multibillion-dollar business!

Some numbers since the creation Airbnb has rocketed:

Source: How Airbnb Capitalised on Opportunities To Become A Billion Dollar Business

Source: Joe Zadeh, Airbnb presentation at Lean Startup SXSW, Austin

Source: Rjmetrics

Gebbia and team’s successful efforts for upgrading photographs proved that code alone cannot solve the problem and create something which is liked by people. Going out to meet real customers and getting their feedback about product is the foremost thing that one should do to build a successful product. Gebbia says, “If we were working on a medical device, we would go out into the world. We would talk with all of the stakeholders, all of the users of that product, doctors, nurses, patients and then we would have that epiphany moment where we would lay down in the bed in the hospital. We would have the device applied to us, and we would sit there and feel exactly what it felt like to be the patient, and it was in that moment where you start to go aha, that is really uncomfortable. There’s probably a better way to do this.”

Conclusion

The article aimed to bring out the importance of Human-Centred Design (HCD) approach to solve real world problems. HCD plays an especially significant role in developing successful product in the market. It is a start to end process That helps individuals, design teams, organizations to create designs which solve the core problems and needs of the users.

Based on the analysis of how people react when the design of a product is not able to solve their problems or fulfil their needs, it can be concluded that Human-Centred Design approach is particularly important to consider when designing a product for users.

References

IDEO.org. (2020). The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design (1st ed., Vol. 1). IDEO.org / Design Kit.

Interaction-design.org (2020). The Basics of User Experience Design. Interaction-design.org/User Experience Design

Minhas, S. (2018, June 15). Design for Humans and Not for Computers — Noteworthy — The Journal Blog. Medium. https://blog.usejournal.com/design-for-humans-and-not-for-computers-8e2d79d4d7d4

A Brief History of Design Thinking: How Design Thinking Came to ‘Be.’ (2014, September 22). I Think ∴ I Design. https://ithinkidesign.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/a-brief-history-of-design-thinking-how-design-thinking-came-to-be/#:%7E:text=Human%2Dcentered%20design%20only%20started,focus%20to%20a%20humanised%20one.&text=In%20its%20final%20(and%20current,for%20resolving%20wider%20societal%20issues.

Adaptive vs. Responsive Design. (2019, February 13). The Interaction Design Foundation. https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/adaptive-vs-responsive-design

Dave Thomsen, Wanderful Media. (2015, August 7). Why Human-Centered Design Matters. Why Human-Centered Design Matters | WIRED. https://www.wired.com/insights/2013/12/human-centered-design-matters/

DC Design. (2018, June 18). What Is Human-Centered Design? — DC DESIGN. Medium. https://medium.com/dc-design/what-is-human-centered-design-6711c09e2779

Philips, M. (2020, May 18). The Importance of Human-centered Design in Product Design. Toptal Design Blog. https://www.toptal.com/designers/ux/human-centered-design

Uzair, A. (2018, August 5). Design for Humans — UX Planet. Medium. https://uxplanet.org/design-for-humans-e8fc7924286d

Wikipedia contributors. (2020, August 6). Human-centered design. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human-centered_design

First Round Review. (2016, September 28). How Design Thinking Transformed Airbnb from a Failing Start-up to a Billion Dollar Business. https://firstround.com/review/How-design-thinking-transformed-Airbnb-from-failing-startup-to-billion-dollar-business/

Interaction Design Foundation. (n.d.). What is User Experience (UX) Design? The Interaction Design Foundation. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/ux-design

This research was carried out by me in August 2020, with the help of user surveys and other references. If you have any question or suggestion don’t hesitate to contact me.


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