user centered design, design thinking

Analyzing user-centered design vs design thinking

User-centered design

User-centered design (UCD) is a problem-solving technique that focuses on people and their needs.

It necessitates recognizing and learning about your users. Concerning individuals. You’re interacting with or influencing someone. The better you understand your people and their demands, the more effectively you can build solutions for them. Designing for user requirements enhances users’ capacity to perform self-service activities naturally and helps to avoid directing them to more expensive channels such as phone and service centers.

User-centered design is a fundamental approach to the creation of any product or service. You save time and money on attempting to address service delivery difficulties if your design is clear, straightforward, and in line with your users’ wants and expectations.

What exactly do we mean by “user”?

A user is someone or something that employs or puts someone or something into service and is directly or indirectly affected by it.

User-centered design is also referred to as human-centered design (HCD) because the designs are being made for humans.

The three user-centered design lenses

The three lenses of the user or human-centered design are attractiveness, feasibility, and viability. It’s an issue of balancing what’s desired from a human standpoint with what’s technologically and economically achievable.

I frequently get pushback from people or organizations that don’t believe user-centered design is for them. One of the most typical things I hear is something along the lines of ‘it’s all very well telling us users want it this way, but we’re dealing with the business reality of…’ or the incorrect Henry Forde quote ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have responded “faster horses.”

These lenses have assisted me in communicating that user-centered design is not about giving people what they want. It’s about creating with their requirements at the center of our approach — and then, once we’ve determined what’s desired, balancing it with what’s realistic and viable.

The ideas and solutions that emerge from this approach should strike a balance between all three.

Design Thinking 

“The design thinking concept holds that a hands-on, user-centric approach to problem-solving may lead to creativity and that innovation can lead to distinction and competitive advantage.” The design thinking process defines this hands-on, user-centric approach, which consists of six different phases.” — Sarah Gibbons, Nielsen Norman Group

This definition, along with NNG’s accompanying design thinking cycle graphic, have been useful tools for me in communicating the idea of design thinking.

The six fundamental phases of design thinking

1. Understand or empathize: Investigate and get a thorough knowledge of the demand or situation. Conduct your study on genuine people. Understand what your users are doing, feeling, and thinking right now.

2. Characterize: Prioritize and characterize the major insights, issues, and opportunities discovered throughout your investigation.

3. Ideate: Generate all conceivable ideas and solutions to the problem you recognized in the previous phase. Every idea does not have to be viable, good, or ‘the one.’

4. Build or prototype: Create prototypes of your ideas. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Determine your MVP.

5. Thorough testing: Test your solutions with actual people. Pay attention to their suggestions and iterate your design to ensure it fulfills their requirements.

6. Learn: Now that you’ve spoken with your users and tried ideas, pay attention to what they say. Implement a solution that satisfies their requirements. Continue to interact with and learn from your users for the duration of the service.

It is not a straight line

The design thinking process is basically iterative, which means you may repeat it or parts of it as required. You do not need to follow the instructions in a certain order. You may need to go back and redo prior steps. For example, if new challenges or demands emerge during prototype testing that was not addressed in your initial user research, you may need to review the concept and identify procedures to guarantee your design is genuinely helpful to consumers.

If necessary, you can also repeat the same procedure many times before moving on. Your understanding, analysis, or artifacts must be strong enough at the conclusion of each phase to guarantee that you keep focused on the user in the next steps.

Up to and beyond infinity

Using a new design approach and somewhat different terminology when expressing design thinking with the three elements listed below can perform wonders.

  • Drawing fast on a whiteboard in front of a group of people is simple, enjoyable, and effective.
  • Use vocabulary that is appropriate for any activity and comprehensible to individuals who have never engaged in research or design — those who haven’t yet learned to identify with the terms ’empathize’ or ‘prototype.’
  • Make it clear that this is not a one-time event. This is still going on. This is for whenever and however you need it. A circle is a good visual depiction of a cycle, but an infinite symbol is more powerful. In my experience, when fresh teams or individuals begin to use design thinking, it is seen as more of a checkbox item.