What is Human-Centered Design?


What is Human-Centered Design?

The concept of human-centered design has been trending in recent years, as we continue to adjust and adapt to the role technology plays in our lives. But isn’t all design human-centered? After all, people are going to be the end user for every technology, product, or service.

Sadly, design is not always human-centered. Sometimes developers and business owners lose sight of their true objectives while chasing the latest buzzworthy trend. 

Nielsen Norman Group founder David A. Norman makes a strong case for human-centered design. “Human-centered design is a philosophy, not a precise set of methods, but one that assumes that innovation should start by getting close to users and observing their activities.” 

At the end of the day, human-centered design is just good design. You have to peel back a lot of technical jargon and marketing buzzwords to get to that fact, however. Let’s take a deeper look at what human-centered design looks like in 2020. 

Form AND Function

As we saw in David Norman’s quote, human-centered design is more of a framework or a philosophical approach than a set-in-stone technique. Wikipedia defines human-centered design as “an approach to problem-solving, commonly used in design and management frameworks that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process.” 

It’s not a groundbreaking concept that good design should always be focused on function. When you’re trying to keep up with all the latest gimmicks and trends, it can be easy to lose that focus.

To illustrate the point, think back to the Internet before Google began regularly adjusting their algorithms. In those wild, early days of the Internet, SEO was king. Every website seemed engaged in a mad dash to churn out as much search-engine friendly content as possible, using all manner of unethical Black Hat techniques. Keyword stuffing and duplicate content threatened to render the Internet almost unusable for finding quality content. 

These days, Google is much more demanding in how they rank websites. Page load time, backlinks, and formatting are much more important than words without context. 

In short, Google began thinking like a person, like a hypothetical end-user. It’s also a good example of human-centered web design, which we’ll delve into next. 

Why Should I Worry About Human-Centered Design?

The SEO example is a good introduction into both what human-centered web design is, and why it’s important. 

Human-centered web design begins with a solid user experience and branches out from there. This means a good website or digital asset keeps both form and function in mind at every level. It also helps to navigate some of the common pitfalls many websites, business owners, and developers stumble into. 

Consider this common scenario: a business owner builds a website to increase brand awareness and tap into the global audience that digital marketing can bring. They launch their website and begin developing content around SEO keywords and phrases. 

Some common phrases might be “SEO services near me” or “web development Maricopa Arizona.” 

Both of those examples are an illustration of common mistakes many digital business owners make. “Web Development Maricopa Arizona” is technically sound, from an SEO perspective. That’s the phrase someone’s most likely to type into the search engine. 

Trying to get an exact match for the search engines is not going to make for compelling content that readers are really going to engage with, let alone establish actual brand trust and loyalty. 

Instead, they’d be much better off spending their energy and resources into creating actual content that readers will actually use, benefit from, and share with their network. That means actually knowing what they’re talking about, knowing their audience, and bringing real value to their customers. 

Human-centered web design shines a light on the state of eCommerce and digital marketing in 2020. There are no get-rich-quick schemes, no hacks or gimmicks that will make you Internet famous overnight. You wouldn’t want that, even if it were possible. 

Instead, human-centered design encourages us to think about quality over quantity. It focuses our products and services on our customers and audience instead of a quarterly return. Your output will be much stronger for it. 

Looking For Human-Centered Design Near Maricopa, Arizona?

At Unvetica, it is our great passion to share technological solutions to human problems. If you’re looking for custom digital services, bespoke digital marketing, and human-centered web design and development, check out our portfolio and then contact us with any questions or to set up a consultation! 

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