The terms “user experience design” (UX) and “user-centric design” (UCD) are often used interchangeably, in reality, there is a distinction between the two.
The term UX (an acronym for User eXperience) refers to the quality of the user experience in any interaction situation. It describes the overall experience felt by the user when using an interface, a digital device, or more broadly in interaction with any device or service (Norman, 1990).
As for user-centered design, it is a philosophy or approach to the process, design, and development where the needs, expectations, and specific characteristics of end-users are taken into account at each stage of the product development process, by seeking to adapt the product to the end-user rather than imposing a mode of use chosen by the designers (Ferris, 2004).
In 2010, ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) defined the user experience as “the responses and perceptions of a person which result from the use or the anticipation of the use of a product, a service or a system.” Based on the principles of ergonomics, cognitive psychology, and the humanities, the user-centered design approach aims to involve the user throughout the life cycle of a product (Nielsen, 1994).
During the design process, the designer uses tools and the user, his contact with the latter takes place through interviews, surveys, collaborative platform, etc.
During all stages of the process, designers keep the user involved in improving, adjusting, and evaluating the product. End users are in the best position to assess and influence the development of a product. If the final product matches their needs, desires, and characteristics, it will have every chance of being adopted. And that is the ultimate goal of any product. User-centered design dictates that product development should be driven by user needs rather than technological possibilities.
By following the user-centered approach, designers ensure that their product is useful and usable since it meets the needs, expectations, and logic of users. A user-centered product, therefore, promotes user performance while ensuring comfort and safety.
User-Centered Design Processes and Methods
The design process includes five phases (Lallemand, Gronier, 2016), the first is planning during which a definition of the project objectives and a reflection on the tools and resources to be deployed takes place, followed by a phase of exploration during which the designers collect user requirements, then an ideation phase where we synthesize the exploration phase and generate design ideas, then a generation phase formalization of design and finally the iterative evaluation phase of the solutions generated.
The process is iterative, back and forth between the different phases are necessary throughout the design, the cycle ends when the system reaches the level of quality expected by the designers.
Regarding the methods implemented for the completion of these different phases, the designers use the storyboard where they schematize the interactions between the user and the product, as for the prototyping they design a final version of the service that will not yet be accessible to the public, ideation cards, focus groups, and personas.
All these methods we will try to dissect them one by one in more detail in future articles.
Till next time please be safe. 🙂
Ferris, T. L. J. (2004). User-Centered Design: An Integrated Approach (Vol. 47).
Lallemand, carine, & Gronier, guillaume. (2016). Méthodes de desig UX : 30 méthodes fondamentales pour concevoir et évaluer les systèmes interactifs (eyrolles).
Norman, D. A. (1990). The design of everyday things (Revised and expanded edition). Basic Books.
Nielsen, J. (1994). Usability engineering (Nachdr.). Kaufmann.
ISO 9241–210:2010(en), Ergonomics of human-system interaction — Part 210: Human-centred design for interactive systems. https://www.iso.org/obp/ui/#iso:std:iso:9241:-210:ed-1:v1:en
Head of Product & UX Lead @Weare Moon Agency