How You Can Improve Your Workflow with Human-Centric Web Design
In the web design industry, we often hear the terms “user-centric” and “human-centric”, but at times, both developers and designers think that they mean the same thing. Most professionals look to include a user-centered design which revolves around end-users and what kind of experience they will have with your products.
On the other hand, a human-centric design takes the whole thing to another level. This kind of approach is very interesting, but it is not used very often. This is why we decided to talk about the potentials of human-centered designs and how your projects would benefit from them.
Why human-centric design?
Why is this approach important for the industry? Both developers and designers are generally doing well. They build sites for their clients, who are happy to pay. There seems to be nothing wrong with that, but from my point of view, human-centered design is a tool for better project management.
It isn’t mandatory for all web designers and developers, but it can be used to drastically improve workflows. The main idea is to adopt certain approaches that will make the workflow smooth. On the other hand, it’s a great way to connect with clients, establish realistic ideas, and make concepts achievable.
What is a human-centric design?
The human-centric design is a full-blown design process for final products. It’s a guided, practical method that will improve your efficiency and give your workflow a structure that will affect final products. This concept is a bit different then user-centered design. With final users in mind, designers are often focused on solving concrete problems.
This includes usability, confusing elements, and so on. With the human-centered approach, we look at the wider picture and the whole project is viewed as the product that exists for humans, not just the parts which humans will interact with. The whole approach consists out of three essential elements which are valuable milestones for any type of project:
Step 1: Exploration
When starting a project, the first thing you need to do is to define it. You have to provide answers to each “why” and create a schedule that will help you deliver the end product. Your clients deliver their briefs and talk about their wishes, then you can try and do thorough research and offer suggestions to see how they respond.
The best method for this part is to rely on prototypes. Create several minimal viable products such as sketches, mock-ups, wireframes, and offer examples of other similar sites. Once you’ve spent 2 to 3 days doing this, you can show them to your clients and get useful feedback, which will help you shape the product the right way.
The main difference here is that you don’t approach the project from a technological standpoint. You should try to get the human aspect. Try to empathize with stakeholders, and through this, you will get the motivation to come up with the right solutions. With this kind of human perspective, you will innovate and create better products for humans.
Step 2: Design
Now when you have your idea and you gathered a lot of valuable insight from users during the prototype stage, the time has come to develop and design your website. But one of the challenges everyone faces with the human-centered design is that they are only focused on their work. Even though it’s a common thing to be isolated when building a site, it is definitely not the most effective way.
Look to stay in touch with other people while working. If you are working alone on a project, simply go to a co-working space where you can show your work and talk about it with others. Look to see what others have to say about it, especially if they don’t do this kind of work. With this approach, you aren’t looking to create “the best product” but to find the best compromises.
Don’t be afraid to take calculated risks to help users. You can also try co-operative design and work with other people on the project, not just try to get feedback from them. Ask people how the product could be better for them and don’t be afraid to expose yourself and your mistakes.
Step 3: Implementation
A web project is never over. Sure, a lot of companies call it quits when they deliver the final product, while others also measure certain results and do testing before they finish up. However, this industry is so fast-paced, and changes are constant. Even small alterations can heavily impact user behavior. Once you’ve finished a product with this approach, it is time to start analyzing it.
All sites need analytics tools to track their performance. Successfully delivering a product is important but seeing how well it performs is even more important. Those analytic results that you give to your clients are the only way you can show how much value your work has given them and this is how you will keep customers happy.
Naturally, you need to understand what is important for a certain site and track this data. Once you’ve done that, make sure that you do the necessary changes on the site to improve results. This doesn’t mean overhauling the site completely but simply changing the emphasis of certain aspects of your site and its features.
As a designer, you need to track your own progress, and not just for your clients. Try to capture important points of the project as it is evolving so that you can reflect on it once it’s finished. Look at your work outside of the box. Every project has its challenges and problems and it is a good idea to memorize what you’ve done to overcome them.
After all, your clients are human, but you are human as well. Do you feel that you could try the human-centric approach? Have you tried it already? What are your thoughts about it? Feel free to share your opinion.