Welcome to the next blog post accompanying our podcast episode about the interesting and instructive concept of User-Centered Design (UCD)! So far, we know what UCD is and what methods can be used in a UCD approach. Moreover, you are introduced to two very interesting case studies: Qinwen is telling about her thrilling experience with the well-designed clean2go+ sanitizer machines and Desi presents the smart baby incubator. So, now it is time to reflect on the concept and think about its advantages and disadvantages:
Attentive readers and listeners will not need long to come up with at least one major advantage of UCD: A product that went through the UCD process eventually becomes a product that is usable for the intended purpose, and is efficient, effective and safe (Abras et al., 2014). At least, this is the underlying point of the method. As a result, this will lead to high sales numbers of the product (“User Centered Design”, n.d.). Taking into account this advantage and the finished product, we should also pay attention to what did not happen: The researchers and designers did not create a product that people hate or simply do not use. This means, taking a UCD approach lowers the project’s risks because it is very unlikely that the product turns out to be a failure. Furthermore, costs for customer services can be kept low (“User Centered Design”, n.d.) or even better: As the feedback of the users is provided iteratively and considered from the beginning, the odds of having to completely redesign a product is even more unlikely. This also saves time and money (Le, 2017). Another advantage regarding the cost-factor is that researchers get a clear impression of what users really need and do not invest unnecessary time in developing features that the users do not want, need or use in the first place (Le, 2017). In addition, when users are involved and accompany one or several stages in the design lifecycle, they develop a connection to the product in question (Abras et al., 2004) and are likely to buy the product and recommend it to their friends and family.
Last but not least, a good design can make people happy, as Don Norman explains in the following video:
All in all, this blog posts shows that a UCD approach has many advantages: Products developed using this method are usable, efficient, safe, and accessible. This leads to higher user satisfaction and increased sales numbers.
Abras, C., Maloney-Krichmar, D., & Preece, J. (2004). User-centered design. Bainbridge, W. Encyclopedia of Human-Computer Interaction. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 37(4), 445–456
Le, K. (2017, November 7). User-centered Design Method. Medium. https://medium.com/redcatstudio/user-centered-design-method-28e3aafc8c8a
TED. (2009, March 9). The three ways that good design make you happy|Don Norman [Video]. YouTube.
User Centered Design. (n.d.). Interaction Design Foundation. https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/user-centered-design#:~:text=User%2Dcentered%20design%20(UCD),and%20accessible%20products%20for%20them
Babich, N. (2019, October 18). User Centered Design Principles & Methods. Adobe. https://xd.adobe.com/ideas/principles/human-computer-interaction/user-centered-design/#:~:text=What%20is%20User%2DCentered%20Design,requirements%2C%20objectives%2C%20and%20feedback
Norman, D. (2013). The Design of Everyday Things. Basic Books.
Norman, D. (2014). Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things. Basic Books.
Sirk, C. (2020). The Godfather of UX: Don Norman & User-Centered Design. CRM Software Demystified. https://crm.org/articles/the-godfather-of-ux-don-norman-user-centered-design
User-centered design: a beginner’s guide. (2020, July 4). Justinmind. https://www.justinmind.com/blog/user-centered-design/