About User-Centered Design
User centered design is a design philosophy wherein development organizations place users (capabilities, needs and wants) at the center of the design process. This has implications for both product and information development. Technical communicators familiar with user-centered design methodologies can add value to organizations by acting as evangelists and subject matter experts for these areas.
Product Design and Development
Implementing user-centered design in product design and development groups means that organizations take the time to research and evaluate users and user needs both before and during product research and development. This contrasts with environments where development organizations attempt to force users to change how they work and think to use products effectively. Although it has been proven that users cannot always tell you what they want in a product, good user-centered design involves conducting enough field research to uncover what it is that users actually need.
Information Design and Development
Implementing user-centered design in information product design and development is similar to that of product development. It means that technical communicators perform rigorous audience research and analysis to determine:
- how users learn
- how users use information
- users' goals and tasks
- how users use the product in their everyday lives
Once writers understand this information, they can design an information structure and product that fits seamlessly into users' existing workflows.
See the resources on the Usability Research page.
This page supports the usability needs of persona Margy Statler.