In order to be a successful UX designer, you have to be able to come up with new solutions to a similar problem every time. The challenge although is big, it is doable. Besides the problem-solving activity, there’s an even bigger challenge of driving yourself forward. The process of evolution should never stop for a designer.
Talking about problem-solving, you might have heard user-centered design as a tool for solving problems. If you are not aware of the term user-centered design, let us define it for you. User-centered design (UCD) is an optimistic approach that is used to explore new solutions more like inventing them. The main focus of this approach is the human needs and this is the reason why it is used to discover answers that satisfy those needs.
Being a UX designer, you have to know what the people need and then you can come up with a design that will be according to a majority of the people. It is all about thinking like the people and understanding what they require from you. Only then you can provide unusual answers.
Although the process seems simple there are a lot of complexities in it. You have to generate heaps of ideas and tons of prototypes. These are then shared with the people you are designing for to seek feedback. You should know that failure might come your way but it will bring more good than harm because you will explore the creative side in you that you never knew.
Advantages of User-Centered Design
Before we move into the process of user-centered design, it is important to discuss its benefits. Here we will list down 5 benefits of user-centered design:
A user-centered design bridges the gap and brings communities together. It makes way for lots of new ideas to come to life and bring noticeable innovations to the products that can serve the needs of the people.
Businesses want engagement that turns to sales directly. Through user-centered design, it becomes easier to identify the group of people who will use the product, for what they will use it for, and what the conditions for which they will use it (if any). These are key points that a UX designer can keep into consideration while coming up with a user-centered design.
Today the market mostly operates in perfect competition. There is a huge number of buyers and sellers of the same product making it difficult for a new seller to survive but the buyers get different choices. Through user-centered design, the customers can be convinced to buy your product because it will meet their requirements more as compared to other products.
Positive User Experiences
A business is known by its values, market share, and above all, customer loyalty. No matter how much you invest in marketing, the impact word of mouth creates is something extraordinary. Through user-centered design, positive user experiences can be created that can go a long way in the success of the business.
Since the user-centered design is all about the needs of the customers, it can drive more sales.
5 Stage Process of User-Centered Design
There are 5 basic stages of the user-centered design cycle. This cycle comprises of:
- Assessing the Situation
- Understanding the User
- Knowing Your Mobile Experience
- Design Approach Considerations
Let’s discuss these 5 stages briefly to give you an idea.
Assessing the Situation
Before you start, you should create a deep understanding of the current situation. Are you going to focus on the mobile web? Do you think that your users want to use your website through their mobile devices? The answer is no. There’s no mechanism to identify what your users will do if they have a choice. You need to identify whether a fully functional website or a mobile app is required. Once you are able to do that, you are more than halfway there.
Understanding the User
Before you start designing any new feature or design, it is important to do some research on the users. There are a few questions the answers to which can help you big time. You need to know things like:
- How users browse the internet?
- What features do they use the most?
- How much time are they spending on the website?
- What devices are they using the most to browse the mobile web?
- What new additions in terms of features and functionality do they need the most?
These questions can be answered for multiple personas based on the scale of your business. Please note that this procedure will take a lot of time, so be well-prepared for it.
Knowing Your Mobile Experience
Every company has a mobile strategy that they devise keeping their objectives in mind. If there’s no or vague mobile strategy, the entire process of user-centered design will become meaningless. In order to make it work, you have to make sure that thorough user research is performed to know what they want from the business and what the business can do to provide them.
Design Approach Considerations
Once you are done with the above steps, it is now time to look into the design approach considerations. You should know whether you are looking to integrate your mobile offering with your current offering. There are two basic choices that you can make the i.e. responsive design or adaptive design. If a majority of your customer base is interested in a mobile website, you should go for a responsive design. However, keeping the current trends in mind, a mobile app is also a way to stay connected with the customers at all times.
Once your design is ready in the shape of prototypes, it is highly recommended to test with the users. The reason why you need to test it with the users is that at the end of the day, it is user-centered design. If it is not focused on the users, there’s no point in calling it user-centered. If the users are not satisfied, you should make the recommended changes or design completely according to the feedback.