Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem-solving that puts customers front and center. It makes them the key component of your company’s methodology and real stakeholders in the process. This is in contrast to keeping things in-house or guided by designers, rather than with users.
The result of human-centered design is products built with customer needs in mind. These products often really resonate with the people that use them.
These are some of the benefits businesses can receive by focusing on human-centered design.
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1. Lower Design Risk
There is some risk inherent to any new project. There’s no guarantee a product will find an audience that justifies the costs of manufacture and design. Some items may not have key functions consumers need, and others just don’t work.
Some human-centered design methodologies help you cut down on risk. Most companies that don’t use this technique adopt a waterfall workflow. Work proceeds linearly from design through testing to release. Feedback doesn’t come from outside the business until late in the process – if at all.
With human-centered design methodologies, your customers are brought into the process much sooner. Agile, for example, breaks down the product development cycle into smaller ones. Typically, you’ll have multiple demos or iterations before the main release. As a result, you’ll have a lot more opportunities for user testing and feedback from customers who are using your product in a real-world environment.
If your designers made a critical oversight, it would be easier to catch once you start fielding feedback from clients. There will be less risk that you miss the mark on key features. Even small mistakes will be easier to catch during a human-centered design cycle.
2. Boosting Product Quality
The lower risk can also translate into significantly improved product quality. By testing frequently and keeping user feedback central to your design methodology, you can really get a sense of how people interact with your offerings. You’ll also start to understand how you can better respond to their needs.
Because you’re receiving this feedback early and often, it’s easier to incorporate it into the final product. Wonky user experience will come up in interviews and testing. Customers may also help your team understand their needs during development. Opportunities for value-adds – like new features, streamlined workflows, or improved CX – will be clearer as a result.
3. Improved Team Confidence
Flying blind and working with long development cycles with little external feedback can make some designers uncomfortable.
Human-centered design can help give your team a little extra confidence. When involving customers in the process, your team can know they’re building features people are asking for. With user feedback, they’ll know if their work is really functional in practice or real-world contexts.
Human-centered design can also help when you lack data on what a segment of customers needs. For example, one retail marketing consultant used a human-centered design approach to better target millennial shoppers. By incorporating them directly into the design process, the company could get a much clearer sense of what these shoppers expect from a retail experience.
You can involve customers from a target segment in every step of the design process. The info and insights they provide can help any team make more confident design decisions.
4. Improved User Trust
Customers can tell when you’re putting their needs first. When you focus on user-centric metrics – like satisfaction, customer retention and engagement – it helps build trust in your brand.
Trust is the foundation of brand loyalty. Almost every company today relies on repeat customers to stay afloat. This is especially true for small and medium businesses with less reach. These return shoppers are the most likely to recommend your brand to their friends and family. They’re what provides your company with the framework it needs to grow.
User trust will also give you a distinct competitive edge over other businesses that aren’t putting customer needs first. If it’s clear your company is listening to feedback and taking it seriously, people will pick you over businesses that don’t seem to be paying attention.
You’ll probably need to take other steps to improve your overall customer experience, but human-centered design is a great starting point.
5. Clearer Focus on What Really Matters
Human-centered design helps your team members ask the right questions. When brainstorming something new, designers can sometimes get caught up in their idea of a perfect product – rather than one that perfectly meets customer needs.
Recentering the design process on the people your business serves can help your design team stay grounded. Often, it also helps staff become more enthusiastic about work. As a result, they may be quicker to throw out ideas and really think about how to solve customer problems.
How Your Company Can Benefit From Human-Centered Design
Human-centered design can offer some serious benefits for any company. Involving your target audience in the design process is a great way to catch oversights and improve product value. It can also make customers more willing to trust you. In some situations, it may also make your design team more confident in their work.
If you want to make your design process more human-centered, simple adjustments can help. Regular consultation with members of your audience can help you collect essential feedback.
You can also adopt a totally new, human-centered design methodology.
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