Table of Contents
HCD AND ITS METHODS AND PERSPECTIVES
ROLE OF THEORY IN HCD AND DESIGN FRAMEWORK.
DATA COLLECTION WITHIN HCD
FIRST STEP OF SOLUTION APPROACH
APPROACH’S PERSPECTIVES, RISKS, AND COSTS
HCD and its Methods and Perspectives
Human-centered design (HCD) ”is a philosophy that empowers an individual or team to designing products, services, systems, and experiences that address the core needs of those who experience a problem (DC Design , 2017)".
Besides HCD, there are other methods and perspectives such as Agile methods (i.e. Kanban, Lean, ASP, etc.), Waterfall method, and Scrum.
The Waterfall methodology is a traditional approach to create a system while solving it with a linear process. After the completion of one phase, the engineer moves forward to the next one. It works best for short and well-defined projects (Lotz, M., 2013).
Agile methodologies begin by designing and developing simultaneously and concurrently that means the design and development phases are separated (Read, R., 2017).
The Scrum methodology, the most-known agile method, “is a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value (Scrum, 2018).”
The key difference between HCD and the described approaches above are that HCD identifies, understands, and thinks about its user needs. It designs around it and not around the process as the Waterfall model or Scrum do. Furthermore, the timing and the way how HCD addresses a problem distinguish it (Read, R., 2017).
Role of Theory in HCD and Design Framework
Human-centered design is a framework, and it requires a theoretical understanding to apply it to user’s problems. Since HCD involves human perspectives throughout the design process and to develop solutions to problems, a knowledge about users is critical. Designers have to apply social, cognitive, and psychological principles, among others the cognitive load theory, the gestalt theory, and motivational theories.
The utilization of theory as a component of a design framework, I have learned by applying the theory as my structure for weekly reflections. To fully understand the theoretical framework, I looked into examples as well as into additional literature while getting familiar with a new weekly topic. Furthermore, it helped me to write down a definition or explanation in my own words – Albert Einstein: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” I viewed theory as an important part of presentations and reflections because without them, I would have just written vague reflections. Theories are tools that are necessary to produce an outcome.
Data Collection within HCD
There are two types of data in considering HCD. Quantitative data, also known as survey data, comes from user feedback. This data helps to identify a problem, a gap, or a mandate and is essential for the research. Preferred users are the ones with a strong, negative opinion about the service or product. Qualitative data, also known as behavioral data, analyzes user’s behavior on one’s website. It gives insights of the strengths and weaknesses of the website as well as on user’s subconscious actions. Both data are important for the design team as users are not descriptive when they give feedback or they are not aware of their actions (Revenue River, 2017). Quantitative data will be used to solve indirect problems of the usability of a design. This includes the number of errors, the success rate, the task completion times, the perception of usability, etc. Qualitative data can be used to solve direct problems of the usability of a system, particularly the functionality of design elements (Budiu, R., 2017).
First Step of Solution Approach
The Double Diamond Model reflects the design process and is divided into four stages (Design Council, 2018). The Discover phase which is also my recommended first step in pursuing a solution approach is to gather as much information as necessary to get a broad understanding about the observed problem, gap, or mandate. This stage focuses on the people that are related to the subject. By performing this stage, you can ask users about their experiences. Those questions can be related to the users who face the problem, to their actions that lead to the existence of the problem, to their triggers and the timing of their actions, to the places where the problem comes up, to their decisions, feelings and thoughts, and to their used tools. To find out this information, you have several options, but they should be suited to the observed problem, gap, or mandate. Ethnographic studies & contextual observations, interviews, focus groups, surveys, diary studies, participatory design activities, and data mining (Madpow, 2018).
Approach’s Perspectives, Risks, and Costs
HCD might be enough to simply approach a solution from a singular perspective, but it depends finaly on the project itself. Due to its long design framework process, HCD can be very expensive and lengthy. Furthermore, some gained data from the Discover phase cannot be converted into designs.