Last updated: MARCH 11, 2020
The 4 Phases of User-Centered Design
User-centered design incorporates user research and other feedback throughout the design process. It’s based on collected data and the designs truly reflect the users’ needs and wants.
To get a little more specific user-centered design comes from a larger idea of human-centered design. This relates heavily to UX design and the products based on endless combinations of user abilities, tasks, and environments.
Generally, each approach of user-centered design involves four phases:
1. Phase One: Context
The first is understanding the context of how a user will interact with a system.
2. Phase Two: Requirements
Then we must identify requirements of the user.
3. Phase Three: Design
Next is the design phase, and finally comes the evaluation phase.
4. Phase Four: Evaluation
During the evaluation phase, we assess the outcome of all phases and monitor the performance.
What It All Means
Through this whole process, the user is most important. Forget all the fancy bells and whistles. If it doesn’t improve the experience of the end-user, or data doesn’t back up each design decision, then lose it, it’ll generally get in the way.
Coming from a designer, it hurts to say, but the design should also be met with purpose and backed by reason.
Through this whole process, the user is most important. Forget all the fancy bells and whistles. If it doesn’t improve the experience of the end user, or data doesn’t back up each design decision, then lose it, it’ll generally get in the way.
This mindset of user-focused design extends well beyond digital design.
Have you ever walked into an Apple store and found it difficult to find a product, locate the genius bar, or pay for an item? Exactly, me neither, and this is on purpose.
Apple has heavy research in play that has identified the ideal stage for sales and customer service. Large signage, plenty of “geniuses,” and mobile cashiers lead to a better and smoother user-focused design.
The next time you find yourself navigating a new website, mobile app, or storefront, stop to think about what makes this experience great. Most likely, this design has many questions asked and answered before the buildout begins, all with you in mind.