9 Key Principles of User-Centered Design 3 9 Key Principles of User-Centered Design
Review: 5- 5 5 9 Key Principles of User-Centered Design

9 Key Principles of User-Centered Design

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UI/UX Design
24 January
9 min read
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If you use a mobile app or website with pleasure, this was developed based on user-centered design principles (UCD). They are built on empathy for the customer — understanding their emotions, disappointments, requirements, impressions, and experiences.

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Created by Lily

Emotions from using your product create an essential opinion about it and your team. Solving a user’s problem is a matter of fundamental design that everyone is guided by. But providing a pleasant experience during the problem-solving process is a qualitatively different level of business interaction with the audience.
Although the concept of human-centered design has existed since 1986, this topic is so deep that there is always an option to learn something new. The team creates high-quality design when empathy and respect for the user become the fundamental law of the team’s work. To help you achieve this, we will introduce you to user-centered design principles.

What is User-Centered Design?

Simply put, User-Centered Design (UCD) allows experts to create a product that focuses on user experience. Your product will be able to function and make a profit thanks to its users, so it is only natural to focus on the needs of their needs. Moreover, the user-centered design process relies on real user experience, not on marketers’ assumptions about that experience.
A human-centered design standard describes in detail all the crucial aspects of this method. The web development industry is so dynamic that new approaches and ways to improve user experience are constantly emerging. Every developer interested in a result uses one method and several at once. Hence, high-quality design combines many principles and techniques.
We have already created a selection of incredible User-Centered Design Examples for you. In this article, we want to tell you about the principles that can be used to create such designs.

Principles of User-Centered Design

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Created by Lily

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In general, there are nine fundamental principles.

Create requirements

Combining user and business requirements into one principle you will use throughout the product lifecycle is essential. Try to keep a balance. For example, your business requirements are to attract as many of your customers as possible. And the user requires that your product should help solve a specific problem. If only one of those prevails, both the business and the client lose.
So, formulate requirements for your product that will equally consider the needs of your business and users. This principle leads to the next one.

Become a user

You need to learn absolutely everything about your users and consider the product not as a designer or web developer but as a user who has a particular problem and is looking for a solution.
Be sure to:

  • Describe your target audience in as much detail as possible.
  • Define the problem your product is supposed to solve.
  • Describe the context in which your consumers are located: conditions the problem arose from, the approximate physical space in which the user is located when working with your product.
  • Model the user experience. It applies to whether the problem was successfully solved and considers how convenient the user journey was: from downloading the mobile application to uninstalling it (if applicable).

For example, to create a mobile app for Diabetes Control, the Fireart team conducted the most detailed research possible. They define the problem and find a solution: an app that captures all information, makes calculations based on personal data, and monitors users’ condition.

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Created by Katerina Krukova

Involve users

Do this throughout the entire product lifecycle, as it provides the necessary information about the context of use, tasks, and how users will receive the product after release.
Organize constant feedback from users. This way, you can always check whether your work meets the requirements (which we have already mentioned in the first point).
Get new information about users. During the design process, you may have additional questions at any time, the answers to which may change the vector of your work. You can get important information and put it into practice right away.
Set criteria against which you will compare the current and following versions of the project after each update.

Make the process flexible

Designing with human factors in mind is always unpredictable and exciting. Constant collaboration with users means that you can quickly adapt the direction of work.
Consider possible changes when planning your project calendar and budget. So that in case of unexpected situations, you can still work without neglecting user-centered design principles.

Create a user map

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This point is usually perceived as a part of user research. However, it is so important that we decided to pay special attention to it in our list.
Create a user map, and make the most detailed description of the interaction, including possible user thoughts, potential needs, and additional actions.
For example, a user may want to copy a particular text to save it. In a regular application, a person will, at best, be able to copy an element and paste it into notes on the phone. At worst, there will be no such function, and they will have to retype the text manually.
In an app based on the UCD principle, you can anticipate this thought, create a “copy” button, or even a separate “create note” function.
What you get:

  • Saving the user’s efforts and time
  • Simplifying their life
  • Maximizing their enjoyment of the product
  • A 5-star rating

What you did:

  • Foresee the need when you create a detailed user map.

Involve outside experts

Depending on the topic, try to find someone who works with this topic and ask for their opinion. For example, it’s a mobile app for calling a taxi. In that case, you should interview passengers who will use it directly and get the opinion of drivers, managers, and customer service employees. Each can give you a thought that will significantly distinguish your product from competitors and make it a market leader.
Your team should also be multidisciplinary. The broader the overall outlook of the development team, the more aspects of UCD will be taken into account. Representatives of different professions may have different approaches to solving the same problems and other value systems (for example, what is more important: functionality or design).

Pay attention to the content

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Created by Beatrice Castaldo

You can also take advantage of our 5 UX Design Best Practices to ensure your texts are genuinely compliant.

Simplify the product

Try to create a product that is as easy to interact with. If the user has a problem and wants to solve it, the process of solving it should not bring even more problems.
When choosing between an intricate but inconvenient element and a simple but convenient one, always ask yourself: will it make the user’s life easier? Every decision should be evaluated from the point of view of the user’s benefit.

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Created by Mariam Belarbi

Repeat everything

It’s important to understand that the user-centered design process continues even after you develop and release your product to the world. It’s something that you have to focus on constantly as long as your product exists.
After you’ve tested your project and received user feedback, it’s time to repeat the process from the beginning, using the information you’ve gathered from the first cycle. You can start by reviewing the requirements. You must have specific criteria that you will follow throughout the product lifecycle. Your product should satisfy both sides: users and the business.

How To Increase Usability?

It’s easy to do if you implement all UCD principles when creating a digital product. For example, a detailed user map will show you possible steps where the user may be delayed. Then, thanks to user feedback (at all stages), you find solutions on how complex actions can be simplified. In this way, absolutely everyone involved in the UCD process wins.

What’s Important To Remember About UCD?

You can start following these principles when your project is just an idea or incorporate them at any other stage. The main thing is to keep respect for your customers.
You may have noticed that the user-centered design process is similar to another well-known principle — design thinking. They generally have the same goal — to satisfy the audience, but some stages are different. For example, UCD has the following five steps: research, define, design, evaluate, and iterate. Users are involved in each of them. Meanwhile, design thinking requires empathy, determining, ideating, prototyping, and testing. Only the first and last stages concern users.
Each of the above principles can be realized using different methods, which is also essential to consider. For example, audience research can be carried out through questionnaires or focus groups, and feedback can be obtained in different ways. To integrate this into your work process as efficiently as possible, you need to know user-centered design principles and the methods to implement them.

Try a User-Centered Design With Fireart

UCD is the basis of competent business interaction with customers. The principles of user-centered design are that you work closely with your audience at every stage of the product life cycle. And the final phase always flows into the first stage of work.

You can use all nine principles or implement only some of them. Either way, the user-centered design will improve your digital product.

You can implement it in your team or reach out to people who work according to these principles. We’ve outlined these principles based on our experience, so we’ll be happy to help you create an invaluable product that your users will appreciate.

Once you try UCD, you will stick with it as it focuses on user satisfaction, and a satisfied user stays with you forever.

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