Use Human-Centered Design to Get a Jump on Usability

We thought it might be useful to start at the beginning, so to speak, for companies who have not yet adopted a user-centered design approach.

User-centered design is widely used by the best design firms in the world for medical and other high-level technologies. In many ways, this process is counter intuitive to the way that most engineers were trained. It requires thinking about design from the outside in.


The process is usually broken down into the following steps:
  • Interview and observe

    Actually go to your end users and find out what they need

  • Ideate

    Take feedback from user observation and come up with some ideas (brainstorm, organize themes, etc.)

  • Prototype

    Build usable versions quickly and test them out

  • Iterate

    Revise until you get something that works

Human-centered design requires quick thinking and flexibility. It also requires an open mind, and very likely will break down some internal preconceived notions about a product.

However, designing products this way interweaves usability and a general user/customer focus, into the design stages, making it more likely that the product will meet the needs and expectations of the people who will buy it and use it.