January 20, 2023
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Defining and adopting user centred design
‘User Centred Design is a sum of multiple elements which lead to a consistent user journey. That journey allows for multiple scenarios so that users can choose various paths to achieve their goals and overall business objectives with or without the support of the digital service.’ – Maciej Szmulka, Head of User Centred Design, Jumar.
There are many misconceptions that User Centred Design (UCD) only concerns the digital world, but this in fact is untrue. UCD is a scientific research discipline that can be applied in technology and non-technology environments. A perfect example of this are the eGates in airports as these are digital elements in a non-technology environment. There are signs to lead the users to a specific place, hosts assisting and supporting the users and there is an element of choice and control over the process, which are all elements of UCD.
The principles of UCD are based on typical scientific approaches and focuses on running discoveries with users to identify their needs and problems. The principles also explore opportunities within a business to achieve wider goals and objectives. This enables businesses to prototype and test potential user journeys, map them against business objectives and make improvements where required.
UCD is also the enabler for usability practices and is applied to many human interactions to deliver a successful outcome. Using the definitions from Nielsen Norman Group we can define usability as five quality components:
- Learnability: How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the design?
- Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks?
- Memorability: When users return to the design after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?
- Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?
- Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design?
When adopting UCD, things can often go wrong including, getting the requirements wrong at the very beginning, lack of instruction and forgetting to complete regular sanity checks throughout the design and delivery process. To combat these points, it’s important to motivate users to ask questions, feedback and go back to revisit the steps of the process again, even if they believe the section is complete.
Finally, it is also important to consider, it is never possible to successfully change a process if you don’t understand the user’s behaviour, so businesses should continue to adopt UCD, motivate their teams and provide feedback to continuously improve.