Rationale for adopting human-centered design

Woman with bad experience at work in pain unable to work no HCD
Woman with bad experience at work in pain unable to work no HCD

Using a human centered approach to design and development has substantial economic and social benefits for users, employers and suppliers. Highly usable systems and products tend to be more successful both technically and commercially. In some areas, such as consumer products, purchasers will pay a premium for well-designed products and systems. Support and help-desk costs are reduced when users can understand and use products without additional assistance. In most countries, employers and suppliers have legal obligations to protect users from risks to their health, and safety and human-centred methods can reduce these risks (e.g. musculoskeletal risks). Systems designed using human-centred methods improve quality, for example, by:

  1. Increasing the productivity of users and the operational efficiency of organizations
  2. Being easier to understand and use, thus reducing training and support costs
  3. Increasing usability for people with a wider range of capabilities and thus increasing accessibility
  4. Improving user experience
  5. Reducing discomfort and stress
  6. Providing a competitive advantage, for example by improving brand image
  7. Contributing towards sustainability objectives

Benefits of human centered design

The complete benefits of human centered design can be determined by taking into account the total life cycle costs of the product, system or service, including conception, design, implementation, support, use, maintenance and, finally disposal/retirement.

Taking a human-centered design approach contributes to other aspects of system design, for example, by improving the identification and definition of functional requirements, like security. Taking a human-centered design approach also increases the likelihood of completing the project successfully, on time, and within budget. Using appropriate human-centered methods can reduce the risk of the product failing to meet stakeholder requirements or being rejected by its users.