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Taking a Human-Centred Approach to Design

Our Digital and Graphic Designer Jenny Min discusses the importance of taking a human-centred approach in design from a UX and Product Design standpoint.

What is human-centred design and why is it so important?

Human-centred design (HCD), also known as user-centred design, is a philosophy that allows an individual or team to design goods, services, systems, and experiences that address the core needs of those who encounter an issue.

What sets HCD apart from other problem-solving frameworks is its prominent focus on understanding the perspective of the individual experiencing a problem, their requirements, and whether or not the solution provided for them is genuinely addressing those needs. At its most effective, the people who are most affected by a problem are constantly involved in the design process and, where possible, become members of the design team.

The Double Diamond Approach

At Cureative, we use the Double Diamond Approach framework to understand clients and their problems and explore creative and innovative ways to solve their problems and provide the best possible outcome to them.

There are four phases to this approach:

#1 Discover customer problems - Empathise

HCD's core principle is that you should fully understand the people who are affected by a problem before designing a solution for them. Empathy entails immersing yourself in the community that will be impacted by your design in order to comprehend the problem. Instead of making assumptions about why things are the way they are, this stage, and the design process as a whole, is about asking questions. Those who can tackle challenges that affect other people with a "learner's perspective" will be the most successful in developing solutions that have an impact.

#2 Define specific customer problems - Outline delights as well as pain points

This stage serves as a foundation for the rest of the process. After you've learned everything you can about the problem you're trying to solve, define it by focusing on the main action you want to do. People frequently attempt to define problems as a combination of problem and solution.

#3 Develop potential solutions to these customer problems - Ideate

After you’ve gained a deeper understanding of the perspective of the individual who is experiencing the problem as a result of your empathy work and established an actionable problem during the define stage, it's time to brainstorm. You should come up with as many solutions as you can to the problem you've identified. This works best in groups, as each team member writes down their ideas one by one and posts them on a whiteboard for everyone to see. It's important to remember that now isn't the time to decide whether ideas are excellent or awful, realistic or ridiculous. The objective is to generate as many ideas as possible. The creative process is stifled when we critique ideas as they emerge. When an unrealistic notion is slightly scaled back, it can often become the type of creative solution you're looking for.

#4 Deliver feasible and viable solutions to these customer problems - Design and iterate

Put your concepts and designs to the test. Designers use this stage to find defects, weaknesses, and gaps in the design while also enhancing it. The person who lives with the problem is asked to test the model or prototype on a regular basis to see if it addresses all of the issues. When testing, it's very vital to make sure you're not trying to justify your answer. Your goal is to understand more about the individuals you're designing for through your design. What do they find appealing about it? What is it that they dislike about it? What is the reason for this? If you can see this as an opportunity to learn more about what the greatest solution for those who need it would be, you'll be able to come up with a solution that has a lot more traction than one where you pushed your ideas through.

Simple yet impactful case studies of HCD

#1 Push/Pull door

We all have encountered a problem when you see push/pull doors. It is called the Norman door. Don Norman, a UX researcher, came up with the answer for these kinds of doors.

Problem: The design has disrupted the human brain's cognitive bias. When our brain sees a handle, it prompts us to pull it. The Push and Pull parts of the door are both fitted with a handle in this situation, which causes confusion in your mind.

Solution: The push door does not require a handle. Create a door that only has handles on the pull side. Use a plain pad on the push side. If we don't see a handle, we'll all instantly push the door open.

#2 Ketchup bottle

It was a pain in the ass to get full ketchup out of a ketchup bottle. Because the ketchup was thick and it took longer to squeeze every last drop from the container, HEINZ devised an inverted bottle design.

Problem: Getting the full amount of ketchup out of the bottle is difficult. With one hand, people find it difficult to handle and squeeze the bottle.

Solution: Heinz bought the inverted bottle design from Paul Brown, an American designer. The bottle was altered to provide a handgrip and holding space. The user will also get the last drop from the bottle due to the inverted design.

#3 TV Remote

We all have that one TV remote with a plethora of buttons, many of which we have no idea what they are used for.

Problem: The TV remote is mostly used to change channels and control the volume. Seniors have difficulties finding the exact buttons due to the design. It's also more difficult to accomplish the operation if you hold the remote directly to the TV every time you use it.

Solution: Made commonly used buttons larger and more noticeable.

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