The user-centred design (UCD) process outlines the phases throughout a design and development life-cycle all while focusing on gaining a deep understanding of who will be using the product. It’s important to note that the UCD process does not specify exact methods for each phase.
User Centred Design Process
There are multiple principles that underlie user centred design. The design is based upon an explicit understanding of users, tasks, and environments; is driven and refined by user-centred evaluation; and addresses the whole user experience. The process involves users throughout the design and development process, and it is iterative. And finally, the team includes multidisciplinary skills and perspectives.
The following are the general phases of the UCD process:
- Specify the context of use: Identify the people who will use the product, what they will use it for, and under what conditions they will use it.
- Specify requirements: Identify any business requirements or user goals that must be met for the product to be successful.
- Create design solutions: This part of the process may be done in stages, building from a rough concept to complete layout.
- Evaluate designs: Evaluation – ideally through usability testing with actual users – is as integral as quality testing is too good software development.
There are many variations of the UCD process. It can be incorporated into agile, waterfall and other approaches. Depending on your needs, the user centred design process is composed of several methods and tasks. What you are developing, your requirements, team, timeline, and the environment in which you are developing will all help determine the tasks you perform and the order in which you perform them.