Designing For Good: User-Centered Design
We’re talking about user-centered design because ideas succeed when they translate to products, services, and experiences that users love.
So what does “user-centered design” really mean, and why is it so important right now?
To understand user-centered design, look back to the time when digital products didn’t focus on the user experience like they do today. Just 10 years ago, digital products like websites, apps, and software didn’t need to perform on multiple screen sizes or resolutions because devices were mostly standardized. Companies could create a version of their digital product for desktop devices, a distinct version for phones, and possibly another version for tablets. Many companies didn’t address accessibility and they primarily designed digital products for a single operating system. As a result, many users found technology frustrating, hindering, and downright irritating, which hindered adoption.Kelly La Belle, Designer
A great product is a product people want to use.
Thankfully, companies addressed the user frustration, and the design process for digital products has been evolving to prioritize users ever since.
People value products that are easy to use, simple to set up, and have a logical progression. User-centered design isolates the users’ specific needs down to granular steps, then we design to be aesthetically pleasing and intuitive. To really understand the users, the design process requires user research, which can include user surveys, brainstorming, testing, and more.
There is no single approach to user-centered design. Most digital products have unique experiences that require unique solutions. An investment in a great user experience and user interface design can make the difference between success and failure.
Products that incorporate user-centered design have been proven to:
- Cut down on customer service costs. More intuitive workflows result in less customer frustration and fewer service calls.
- Increase sales. Customers conduct research before committing to a new product or service so first impressions online are key. A few bad online reviews about your product will result in lost sales. Rather than hire a PR firm to fix your product’s reputation, invest in a great user experience upfront to reduce the cost of sale.
- Reduce lawsuits. Companies can be held legally responsible if their digital products aren’t usable for people with disabilities. Having an inaccessible digital product is in the same vein as having an inaccessible storefront. User-centered design will address accessibility as a top priority.
User-centered design is popular because it works. The digital landscape is constantly changing, so keep the user at the center of the change to ensure a great product and strong business.
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