Guide to human-centred product design and delivery

Spotify — An app that changed the way music was consumed and disrupted the industry by ensuring it was not just cheaper but also easier to listen to music. At one place, with a small monthly fee customers get unlimited access to an array of genres with customisation and personalisations.

Fitbit — A product that understood, recognised and delivered to the issues faced by people who wanted to keep track of their health and fitness goals. Encompassing heart rate monitoring, breathing rate, oxygen saturation and much more the product kept count of the calories the consumer burns thus keeping the user in mind.

So what do great experiences, products or services like Spotify or Fitbit have in common? Apart from impeccable services, these products have been designed understanding the user’s perspective, solving for their problems but not implementing them. This design process that focuses on thoughts, emotions and behaviour is called Human-centred product design.

Human-centred design is a framework or design thinking that links solutions with human being perspectives at all stages of problem solving. Due to the radical shift in the way insights and realities have changed in the last two years, the need for products and services to innovate promptly especially when expectations and behaviour patterns change so quickly is at an all time high.

At its essence, human centred design focuses primarily on not to just build technologically advanced products but rather those that are easily acceptable and adaptable by the end user. On a larger scale, this design process is focused on three key areas — creativity, empathy and business needs. This product design process involves sincerity in caring for the people we design for, crafting creative solutions, and making commercially successful products.

In the era of the customer, the nascent stages mostly centre around immersion, observation, and contextual framing where UX designers become deeply involved with the problem and the community. Human Centred designrequires a direct engagement with the target audience where you design not “for” the end-user but “with.” Researching and communication with key stakeholders is vital to creating a product that will do well. Additionally, most often, designers tend to presume their situations are similar when in reality, they are contextually very different.

What makes human centred design different from User centred design? While there may seem to be a lot of similarities in the terms of focus on importance of creating and design products that cater to a user’s needs and wants, human centred design understands and identifies the importance of emotional, behavioural and environmental contexts. This design process inspires UX designers to not view the audience as just basic users of the product but as human beings with real lives and complexities. Another important distinction is that while both processes place user testing at its essence, the human centred design involves people at each stage. And therefore, decision makers and key stakeholders have the chance to be a part of the process resulting in accurate decisions that mirror the exact requirement and needs of the people.

The human centered product design process revolves around 3 phases.

  1. Inspiration — This phase involves two things broadly. Firstly, understanding and observing the target audience. the purpose of this product design process is to find the apt and right solution to the problem and inspiration is a key aspect of the process. It is about learning and understanding the people, what their needs and wants are and defining solutions that make their life easier and better. This design process has empathy at its heart. This is important because it provides the UX Designer with insight that generate solutions. It is after understanding the needs, we get to define a point of view. This process involves moving from data to information, information to knowledge and knowledge to wisdom.
  2. Ideation — the next step is doing a complete deep-dive into analyzing the problem. The target of ideation is to produce as many different ideas as possible. Product design teams huddle together brainstorming on multiple ideas. They assess each idea with deliberation and select the ones with most potential to be prototyped and tested. Prototypes allow you to test a design in the context of real use. It is one of the best ways to get a 360-degree, universal understanding of a consumers experience. Testing the product involves validating important assumptions about a product design, service design, or business model. It also serves as an opportunity to explore value creation and higher revenues. In human centred design testing serves as a great opportunity to gradually better your design by positioning yourself with the behaviours and needs of consumers.
  3. Implementation — the third and final phase involves converting your ideas into real, tangible solutions. It is about presenting to the world, a polished version of your product. Constant measurement allows UX Designers to gage, alter, or expand product features to create more value. This iteration process will and should never end as people’s behaviour and needs constantly change and evolve.

The human centred design process’ importance to product design cannot be taken too lightly. This design process guarantees better products that solve real-world problems. Today, we are designing for a new reality. Human centred design process is for those who can pinpoint specific problems, understand the wants and needs people experience, and envisage a solution, moving quickly from the idea to the execution phase.

Originally published at on Oct 26, 2022



Onething Design - UI UX Design Agency

Specializing in the field of interaction design, we’re a global UI UX design studio that assists brands across industries in sustainable digital transformation.