Human-centered design: the secret weapon of innovative companies

28.02.2020 · 3 min read

Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, ... All these disruptors have totally transformed their industry. It even seems as if they didn't have to make any effort. So what makes these companies a lot more successful than their predecessors or later copies? We can tell you one secret: it's not the user's fault. And yet the user has everything to do with it!

These innovative solutions were in fact created thanks to an innovative design methodology. Human-centered design ensures that their solution responds perfectly to the (unconscious) needs of their various target groups.

That is the big secret of their success.

What is human-centered design?

Sometimes, two (digital) solutions do the exact same thing. However, one is an instant success, while the other ends up in obscurity. The popular solution is usually the one that brings added value to the business and responds to the real needs of the target group. A perfect combination!

We create such successful applications using human-centered design. In this way we build solutions that are 100% based on the people who use it.

However, there is no uniform definition for this design methodology. In our opinion, the following description is the most accurate:

Human-centered design is a methodology for creating targeted (digital) solutions. These solutions combine user needs, business requirements and technological aspects in a well-considered way. Human-centered design can be applied to products, services and even campaigns.

Why do successful companies prefer human-centered design?

Human-centered design's popularity has increased tremendously in recent years. But what makes this methodology so successful? This is mainly due to the large waves of digitization and the changing demands of potential users.

In addition, successful human-centered solutions also respond seamlessly to:

  • The needs and expectations of users
  • The possibilities and eventual limitations of the medium
  • The business requirements

To put it briefly: it is a must for innovative and customer-oriented companies or organizations looking for growth. We see human-centered design as a foundation for further growth in a targeted way.

    Some human-centered success stories


    You probably know Slack. Maybe you even use the popular chat tool within your company. But did you know that Google once developed its own Slack variant? Nevertheless, Google Wave was not an instant success. In fact, Google discontinued the service a few years after its launch.

    And yet Slack isn't necessarily more user-friendly than Google Wave. Slack did respond better to the (growing) needs of its users. During Wave's launch period, there was less need for any professional collaboration tools. Slack grew as market demand increased, and gradually added extra features. This flexible and focused app won the battle against an oversized Google platform.

    That's the result of a well thought-out strategy that really focused on the market's problems.


    Let's be honest: Apple's products aren't necessarily the best products on the market. But they usually offer an unprecedented human-centered solution. Steve Jobs & Co put an end to unnecessary buttons, eliminated lap-top drives... long before users really disliked them.

    On top of that, Apple products also solve one big problem. They're a perfect blend of hardware and software. This means potential buyers know they're getting a perfect match in a beautiful design.


    Spotify turned the music world upside down, before the world realized that it was absolutely necessary. A few years ago, music could be found "for free" on various sites. Those sites, however, required a lot of effort from the listeners. They had to look for the right (or virus free) files, wait for a download and rely on all kinds of tools.

    Then Spotify arrived. The music app immediately rose to the top charts in the App & Play Stores. Spotify makes music more accessible and convenient for a relatively low monthly fee.