What is UCD

User-Centered Design (UCD)

What is a user-centered design?

User-Centered Design (UCD) refers to a collection of processes that aim to put the user at the center of product design and development. The development of digital products takes place taking into account the requirements, goals and feedback from the users. The formal definition of User-Centered Design (UCD) by the Usability Professionals Association (UPA) is:

User-centered design (UCD) is a creative approach in which the development process is based on the information provided by the user of the product.

User-Centered Design (UCD) vs. Human-Centered Design (HCD)

User-centered design is very often synonymous with Human-centered design used. But there is a difference between the two design approaches.

All users are human, but not all human beings will be users of a particular product. User-centered design is therefore a subset of human-centered design


Therefore, UCD requires a deeper audience analysis than the more general HCD. It is not just about general characteristics of a person. It is about certain habits and preferences of the target users in order to find the right solutions to specific problems.

User-Centered Design (UCD) taken into account Age, gender, social status, education as well as the professional background, product usage expectations, general requirements and many other important things that can vary for different customer segments. What is critical to some users may be irrelevant to others. User-Centered Design (UCD) involves an in-depth study of user habits, from their interactions with the product to their vision of how the product should look and behave.

User-Centered Design (UCD) and UX

UCD improves the user friendliness and can be applied to almost any product. It helps understand users' needs and preferences regarding a product's characteristics, task, and goals. It should be throughout User experience implemented. What matters is what users say and do. Everyone Touchpointthat the user has with the product should be analyzed, well designed and developed.

There are still some companies that prioritize their business goals over those of their users and design a product first and only then look for people who are interested in it. User-centered design advocates exactly the opposite. Before an idea is developed, representatives of the target users must first be interviewed. No matter how innovative functions and the technological capabilities of a product can inspire the developers, none of this brings business profit if the target is missed and the target group is not sufficiently interested in the product.

UCD is about designing and developing a product in the way that users understand and use it, rather than tricking users into adapting their behavior to use a product. The idea is to offer a product that supports the existing beliefs, values, attitudes and habits of the users.

The principles of user-centered design (UCD)

User-Centered Design (UCD) requires:

  • A clear understanding of user and task requirements
  • Including user feedback to define requirements and design
  • The early and active involvement of the user in evaluating the design of the product
  • The integration of UCD into other development activities
  • An iterative design process

User-Centered Design (UCD) ensures that products are designed and developed the way customers want them right from the start. Subsequent changes are much more expensive.

The essential elements of user-centered design (UCD)

Users should be able to see from the start what they can do with the product, what it is about, how it can be used.
Users should be able to find information quickly and easily. You should be offered a variety of ways to find information, such as call-to-action buttons, search options, and menus.
As banal as it sounds, the text should be easy to read.
Short sentences are preferred here. The simpler the sentence and the words, the better.

What is the UCD like?

User-Centered Design (UCD) begins with identifying the target audience of the product and specifying the Context of use. The main goal is to find out why these users are interested in a product and how they want to use it. It is important to group the data obtained in order to meet a number of requirements and benuFormulate objectives that need to be met in order to ensure that user needs are met.

Only after these two steps are completed are possible solutions designed. The design phase can be iterative and evolve from a rough concept to a full design. In the end, the developed product has to be in Usability tests rated to get user feedback. This process should be repeated until the best design is achieved.

User requirements are met through methods such as Focus groups, usability tests, participatory design, questionnaires and Interviews determined and defined. Typically, the Persona, Scenario, and Use Case areas are analyzed to get a better idea of ​​what the target users want.

User-Centered Design (UCD) and Agile

Agile methods with their collaborative customer orientation and their iterative, test-driven approach are increasingly used in software design and development. Agile methods are gaining acceptance in organizations as an efficient and effective way of developing software products. UCD goes very well with Agile. However, UCD also fits in with other development methods including the waterfall method.

The benefits of including UCD in an agile methodology are a focus on the customer and an increase in transparency for all stakeholders. The iterative development reduces the project risk through regular feedback, promotes continuous improvements and enables an early realization of business advantages and the Time to market. Last but not least, the combination of User-Centered Design (UCD) and Agile enables a significant reduction in development costs, a significant increase in productivity and higher customer satisfaction because users receive a product that they want.


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