Thinking about end users, and getting feedback from them about designs, is at the core of the UCD process

What is user-centred design?

User-centred design (UCD) is a well-established way to create successful interactive products, based on principles from design, psychology and software engineering. UCD offers remarkable business benefits, including stronger sales, reduced costs and reduced risk.

Flow’s UCD process involves 5 stages

  1. Research
    Learning about the people who use or are going to use your product, and the context in which they’ll use it. It can include ethnographic techniques such as shadowing, diary studies and interviews, as well as focus groups, benchmarking, usability testing and online tracking (for web projects).

  2. Concept
    Examining the needs of your users and of your business, and coming up with innovative solutions to address those needs. During this stage, the visual design team work on concepts for brand interpretation. The visual and interaction ideas come together for concept testing sessions with target users.

  3. Iterative design
    Designing and usability testing mock-ups of your product through a series of repeated cycles. There’s interaction design, information architecture, visual design and content to be worked through in detail. The result of each cycle feeds into and refines the next, ensuring that the final user experience is simple and delightful.

  4. Build
    The development team often needs quick interaction solutions when they encounter unexpected technical constraints. There’s also accessibility checks and testing to perform, and a final usability test of the working product.

  5. Launch
    The roll-out is managed to ensure users experience a smooth transition from any legacy product. Once the product is out, it’s important to gather feedback and metrics. This can include further usability testing and ethnographic work, along with web analytics.

Flexible and agile

Flow can provide any of these individual services to support your team, or deliver a complete UCD project. We can advise you on the right techniques for your budget.

The description shown here is linear, but UCD works well with agile software development processes too. Both UCD and agile approaches advocate rapid iterative creation of prototypes and multi-disciplinary collaboration.