An Introduction to Human-Centered Design

Hello. I am Jordan Scott, Human-Centered Design Specialist at PPO&S. I’m excited to take you on a journey to learn about the power of human-centered design. In this series of posts, I will be sharing the many different facets of human-centered design, what it is and its core components. Let’s get started.

I’m going to set the stage for a scenario that will help illustrate how human-centered design can be leveraged to solve real-world problems.

  • According to careervision.org, only 45% of workers in the U.S. are satisfied with their jobs and only 20% of workers are passionate about their jobs.
  • According to apollotechnical.com, companies with high worker satisfaction outperform low-satisfaction companies by 202%.

Based on these statistics, it is safe to say that worker satisfaction in this country is not nearly ideal and this paradigm not only hurts the workers as individuals, but it also affects the business as a whole. The goal for any company should be to identify if their workers feel like this and then address these concerns head-on. This is where human-centered design comes in.

What is human-centered design?

Human-centered design is a problem-solving approach. It puts the people most affected by the problem at the center of the decision-making process by including them in the process. When implemented correctly, it can elevate a business, and when ignored, it can hold a business back. This approach ensures that people’s needs are being considered when developing solutions and that these solutions address these needs as effectively as possible. Including everyone in the process and getting their input also helps to make sure you are addressing the root cause of the issue and not just a symptom that has stemmed from it.

What does the human-centered design process look like?

The human-centered design process has several variations, but at its core, it is an iterative multistep process. The first step is to empathize with the target group and discover their needs firsthand. The second step is to define the problem based on what was gathered in the first step. Step three is to ideate possible solutions based on the newly defined problem. The fourth step is to implement the best strategy/strategies that were identified in the previous step. Then, finally, you evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies to pinpoint areas of improvement for the next iteration. It is important to realize that this is a process that is meant to be done regularly to make sure that you are constantly improving as time goes on.

How can human-centered design solve the problem?

In the scenario presented here, employing the human-centered design method would allow employers to discover why their employees do not feel satisfied and correct it. When they do not employ this method, they could be unaware that there is even a problem to fix. This can cause the problem to continue to get worse and eventually create a bad work culture, environment and reputation. Using this process, and doing it iteratively as intended, will guarantee that the work culture continues to improve over time — making current employees happier and more productive. And when they are hiring, the business will be a place where people want to work.

The human-centered design process doesn’t need to be used for internal relations only, either. It can also help foster relationships with both business clients/customers and the community that their business is located in or provides services for. It can help with mitigating risks of new services/ventures, increasing community perception and loyalty, improving the quality of the products and services that the business provides, and so much more.

Contact the Color & Culture team to see what human-centered design can do for you and your business at info@colorandculture.co.

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