For almost sixty years, Human-Centered design has been evolving into the innovative and creative concept that it is today. While putting people first and centering product, service, custom application, or new software creation on the users themselves may seem like a no-brainer, this concept didn’t really begin to emerge until the 1960s.
But What is Human-Centered Design?
If you missed the first part of our HCD series, you may be asking, “What is Human-Centered Design?”
“It is a philosophy that empowers an individual or team to design products, services, systems, and experiences that address the core needs of those who experience a problem.” — Source
Human-Centered Design is a problem-solving method that puts the focus on the person who is experiencing the problem. The target of this approach is empathizing with the real problem a user is facing, understanding their needs, and pushing all design and development energy around creating a long-term solution to improve their experience.
When you hear the term ‘Human-Centered Design,’ the word that more than likely stands out is design. Many confuse this concept with purely being a design concept, but the reality is it is both an interdisciplinary process and an iterative process. Meaning, that this concept doesn’t just affect how things are actually designed, but the approach to the creation of a new product, service or even custom applications.
At Mutually Human, our name even ascribes to this concept. We believe fully in putting people in the center of any piece of technology we build or custom applications that we create.
So, what’s the big deal with HCD? What are the benefits? And as a business owner, start-up head, or manager – why should you care? Here are 5 benefits to consider.
4 Benefits of Human-Centered Design for a Custom Application
You’re able to understand the person using your custom application.
When you approach creating new technology with an HCD perspective, you will be able to understand your user in a much deeper way and in turn, create a solution that makes their life exponentially better. When you take the time to actually dive into understanding your user, ask questions, and get to know the people that will be using your solution, you will create something far more beneficial than by starting with technology first.
You can discern the real problem.
Many times we realize there is a problem within our organization or with our current process, but we can’t put our finger on what the exact issue is. The same is true of consumer issues. They can’t necessarily pinpoint the problem, but they communicate that the experience overall was less than optimal. This is where understanding the difference between a problem and symptom is very important.
The HCD perspective can help identify this and help your understanding of these two different things. By walking through a process like this, you will be forced to ask a lot of hard, but telling questions that will bring the real problem you’re trying to solve to light. Ultimately, this will help you build the right tool to fix the problem you’re having.
You can build with more confidence.
When you start with technology first, instead of people, you run the risk of missing a lot of potential issues that will inevitably come up.
The HCD perspective suggests that you should:
Design and test BEFORE you build!
This method will allow you to uncover problems before they actually emerge in “real life” This encourages us to fail fast, then fix things in this initial stage that is far easier and cheaper to change. When it comes to implementation, things get more expensive. This approach allows you to build with more confidence based on the previous trial and error.
You can actually improve the lives of your users while improving your bottom line.
Obviously, this is a great thing, right? A custom application can be used to actually make the world a better place. Like giving someone extra time with their family, making a day easier or providing someone an opportunity to grow in their career because software automated a mundane task.
But, it benefits your brand or business too!
- It can help you gain a competitive advantage and lead to increased sales.
- Save time and money.
- Increase loyalty for your business or brand.
- Strengthen your relationship with your customers (because the products and tools you are giving them are designed specifically for their unique needs).
- Reduce errors, development costs and increase accuracy within the custom application, so you can avoid expensive rework.
If you’re curious how a Human-Centered Design approach to building custom applications could benefit your brand or business, we’d love to chat with you! Schedule a free consultation anytime!