Human-centered design (HCD) is a common term in app development that describes the process of designing for people, that is, the final intended users. Following the HCD approach helps developers come up with applications that provide solutions and good user experience.
Should every developer adopt a human-centered design? Yes, if you want your application to perform well and become a big hit, then you should use it as a basic framework when developing your applications.
People like using apps that add value and are easy to use. While some apps might add significant value to the life of their users, they lack adequate considerations in different stages, which tends to affect the user experience negatively.
Here are the main principles to keep in mind when using human-centered design in developing apps.
Place Your Focus on the Final User
The greatest mistake most developers make is failing to consider the intended users. Remember, the final user is not a “bot” but an actual human who will interact with your application. You have to understand that your app or product is a mere tool that helps the intended users achieve their goals, be it entertainment, research, or any other aim.
You will need to start with the fundamental question, who am I developing this app for? Once you understand your target group, proceed to determine their critical user framework or journeys. Put yourself in the final client’s shoes by thinking about the triggers for using the app and how the app will help the client fulfill the desire or goal.
You should also understand the devices your target clients are likely to use when accessing your app. Understanding the intended devices will help you determine how best to structure the application to suit the needs and resources of your target market.
Another hugely important consideration to make is when your clients are likely to use your product. That is, are they likely to use it at home, supermarket, when bored on the couch, or during walks outdoors? Understanding this arrangement will help you know more about audience retention levels and possible distractions, which can come in handy in helping you structure out the application.
Research to Know Your Strategy
An application can never be successful if it solves half or only part of the user problem. Once you understand your target market, you should ensure that you know what you want to help them fulfill or solve. For instance, if you are targeting single people for a dating app, you should have an understanding of the desired end-product of the app.
That is, do you want your clients to meet up? Do you want them to exchange contacts while remaining active on the application? Is your app meant for people looking to trade photos or videos for distant dating? Having answers to these questions will ensure that you satisfy the problems or needs of your target clients.
It is at this stage that you know whether you also should develop your mobile app for desktop users. While the mobile Web has grown in popularity over the years, clients prefer desktop apps for heavy tasks or applications. It is your work as a developer to know how to incorporate your clients’ needs in your app.
Picture the Entire System
Focusing solely on the local experience or a single part of the entire user journey is a sure recipe for disaster! Your application needs to function as a neat system to allow for a great user experience. Thinking about the end goal of an application is the surest way to guarantee you adequately consider all steps of the app.
For instance, you could create a great gclub game app that allows clients to place their bets on different events with relative ease. But, when it comes to the withdrawal process, what if clients struggle to withdraw funds or access assistance from support? These difficulties will almost definitely limit the growth and performance of your app, no matter how easy to use the interface is.
Using the human-centered approach to develop your application will help you factor all the vital stages from the first to the last. Users never fancy apps that perform well at some stages, only to disappoint toward the end. With the competition in app development becoming increasingly tight over the years, it is crucial to focus on user experience from the first to the last step.
Test and Refine the Design Decisions
Regardless of the time you and your team spend on prototyping and ideating your design, you should never launch an app without testing it with a human audience. Using people to sample your designs will allow you to get feedback and understand the specific areas that need improvement.
Avoid using your team members, family, or friends in the testing process as you will likely be a victim of the false-consensus trap, which occurs when people compliment or approve your product to appreciate your hard work or efforts in the project.
Always try getting feedback from people who have no relation whatsoever with you. They will tell you what they do like and do not like about your app. This honesty will provide valuable insight into the various areas that may need tweaking for the app to be a success.
It is also crucial to spread out feedback in such a way that you don’t limit yourself to people with the same culture or preferences. Not every negative feedback warrants a change; you should compare and contrast to find similar trends and the key areas that seem to be unimpressive to the sample population.
Using the human-centered design (HCD) in developing your applications will help ensure that you don’t create an app that you alone love using, but rather one that is ideal for your target market. On most occasions, what might be ideal for a developer is not the preference of the final user, which is why you need to develop the app with the client in mind.
Be sure to observe the above processes to remain on track to develop a hit application. Remember to also seek feedback, not from your friends, team, or family, but from random people who fall into the category of your target market.