Simply put, User Centered Design is the practice of optimizing products and interfaces around how the person or groups of people can, need and want to use it. This method is used constantly throughout the design process and is not limited to websites. In fact it is used to improve the experience of just about every product we use – from toasters to iPads. A better experience improves customer satisfaction, makes it more likely that they’ll come back and pass along that good experience to others.
- Task completion – helping people get things done
- Lead generation – turning anonymous users into qualified leads
- Segmentation – breaking your audience into smaller groups called personas
UCD is predominantly applied during the strategy and scope phases of a project because that is where objectives are defined and user needs are planned out. As you move through information architecture, interface design and finally the visual design, goals set out in those planning phases are used as a way to evaluate and measure whether or not they are being met adequately.