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User-Centered Design

1 November 2012
Meirav Barsadeh
A group of people standing next to a large screen

Adapting the work interface to the end-user's needs and requirements by incorporating real people representing the target audience from the very planning stage, through specification and design, to the development and launch stages, and even after.


The user-centered design approach refers to a cyclical, non-linear process. In such a process, receiving honest feedback will prevent mistakes and allow changes to be made on the go.


A good user interface is measured by the simplicity, efficiency, and speed with which it is used.

The central way to achieve this goal is through user-centered design that considers the target audience, their needs, and habits.

User-Centered Design (UCD) is involved in each of the five stages of product development:

Research - Collecting findings that will help define the requirements and serve as a basis for specification. Findings are collected by asking questions such as:

  • Who are the end users?

  • What are the expectations of end users from the interface?

  • What is the level of knowledge and experience of users with similar interfaces?

  • What kind of information is the interface supposed to provide, and how?


We have tools like focus groups, personal interviews, and questionnaire distribution.


Analysis and Initial Approach Formulation -

Proposing possible adapted solutions and testing them with potential end users as a basis for the specification writing stage.


Planning -

Build a prototype, have it tested by end users, and only then pass it on to the design and development team.


Implementation -

After the product is built and designed, it returns to user testing, receiving comments, and making fixes and changes.


Launch -

Practical examination of the final product against the project goals, assuming that the product provides an optimal solution to the needs raised and is subject to change and adaptation even at later stages.


Involving end users throughout the process is reminiscent of using "the wisdom of crowds." Who better than the end users to guide us to the right solution for them?


The wisdom of crowds suggests that the aggregation of answers produced by a large group of people will almost always be more accurate than an independent expert's best and most knowledgeable answer.


In the user-centered design process, the wisdom of crowds is essentially a kind of survey whose sole purpose is to use the thoughts of end users, remove them from the individual's domain, and leverage them to create an interface that provides a good enough response to the needs as defined in the research stage


We are the crowds. Do we know what is good for us? The answer is yes! Do we care about being partners in the process of building the product that is supposed to serve us in the future? The answer is yes! Ask us, and we will already know how to tell you what we need.


Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User-centered_design

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