Too often, systems are designed with a focus on business goals, fancy features, and the technological capabilities of hardware or software tools. All of these approaches to system design omit the most important part of the process – the end user. User-Centered Design (UCD) is the process of designing a tool, such as a website’s or application’s user interface, from the perspective of how it will be understood and used by a human user.
The ISO standard describes 6 key principles that will ensure a design is user centered:
- The design is based upon an explicit understanding of users, tasks and environments.
- Users are involved throughout design and development.
- The design is driven and refined by user-centered evaluation.
- The process is iterative.
- The design addresses the whole user experience.
- The design team includes multidisciplinary skills and perspectives.
The goal of UCD is to produce products that have a high degree of usability. The key objectives for usability are usually described as usefulness, effectiveness, learnability & attitude.