What we mean by user-centred design

Duncan Stephen
Tuesday 11 March 2014

User-centred design

The University of Kent web development team blog outlines their perspective on user-centred design and the agile development process. This is a great overview of the concept. This article makes it clear that user-centred design is not just about asking people what they want.

Why are users bothering to go to that website, and what do they want from the experience?

They almost certainly don’t want what you might imagine…

Because no one is quite like you, the only way to know what other people want, or what works for them… is to ask them.

And I do not mean literally ask people’s opinion on every single tiny thing, and implement every piece of “helpful” advice. This would give us a total design nightmare. We do not want “The Homer”.

User testing should be a healthy mix of direct feedback, and observation. What people say they want and what people actually want are often two very different things, so the skill of the user-experience (UX) specialist can be in taking direct feedback and augmenting it in the light of hard observational data.

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