4 pitfalls to avoid in a human-centered design process

28.11.2019 · 2 min read

Are you determined to embrace the human-centered design methodology? That's an excellent choice!

However, it's not a great idea to rush into it. There are a few ‘human-centered design principles’ to keep in mind during the journey. We briefly summarize the most essential principles.

1. Focus on your target group

In this case, the name speaks for itself. A human-centered solution has to focus (hence 'centered') primarily on the right audience (and that's where 'human' comes from).

These people will eventually use your solution as well. So, it doesn't matter what you create, as long as you understand for who you create it. So, find an answer to the following questions:

  • Who will use the finished product?
  • When, where or how will they do so?
  • Why do users need your solution?

A well-considered answer to the questions mentioned above is vital for a successful human-centered product.

2. Discover how their requirements meet yours

Identifying the right target groups is the first (and most important) cornerstone of human-centered design. However, it is crucial that a human-centered product also has a certain business value.

Extra turnover is in most cases the ultimate goal. This does not necessarily mean that every idea must generate direct turnover. A strong solution can contribute to that objective in different ways:

  • Attract additional leads
  • Reaching new sub-audiences
  • Discover growth opportunities in a new area

Create a product that meets the needs of your target audience and contributes to the objective you set. Otherwise, your new idea will most likely fail.

3. Pick your battles

Your target audiences face several problems. That does not mean that you have to solve them all!

Some of your solutions lack business value, and sometimes the impact on your customers is way too small. We therefore advise you to think carefully and divide all their problems into different categories.
  • Urgent problems, where your target audience asks for a proper solution. Airbnb is a great example in this category: they provided a fitting response to the travel industry's excessive pricing.
  • Emerging problems, for which your target audience does not realize they have an actual problem (yet). A well-known example is Spotify, where users were unaware they could listen to music this easily.
  • Non-issues. Small matters causing a slight annoyance. Nonetheless, the irritation is too small to find a solution for.

Once you have a clear understanding of this, you can create a timeline and provide solutions to problems that matter.

4. Save the software for last

A specific software does not make a problem disappear. Your human-centered product should therefore be system-independent in the first instance. You are not building in an app, tool or platform at that point in time. You build a solution to a certain problem or offer the answer to a specific need.

Only once you know what the problem is like, what the end result is and what the possibilities are, the time has come to choose a format. This can be a system, platform, tool, ... or even a prototype!