Architectural Theory, Design Theory

User Centric Design Process and Principles

For a child, a classroom is a place of wonder where they can meet and play with their friends. It’s a place of magic where their imaginations can be made into reality with the help of teachers and thus, a place where they wish to go every day.

As adults, our workplace becomes that place of wonder again, where we are able to pursue our dreams and meet people of similar interests to unlock our full potential. All of these emotions of joy, wonder, and hope are evoked by the environment that we are in. The influence of how well a space is designed for the required user experience is immediately seen in the quality of relationships we form with our peers.

Designing such spaces can be tricky but these tips may help you achieve the same in a more systemic manner.

Quick and Handy Tips

  1. Surveys and Analysis
  2. Involving the Users
  3. Prioritizing
  4. Empathizing
  5. Planning Using Anthropometrics
  6. Understand the User Path
  7. Creating Personas
  8. Revisit Design

Combining these tips, and using them at the right time and in the right manner, can enhance your design and help execute a user-centric design efficiently. 

Research, planning, and communication stand as strong pillars for user-centric design. Most importantly, understanding the user conscientiously becomes the backbone for a well-executed design.

1. Surveys and Analysis

  • Research and gather information on the existing problems 
  • Understand the expectations related to the user experience 
  • Asking the right questions to narrow down findings and understand the core problems 

2. Involving the Users

  • Involving the users from the start helps in understanding their needs
  • Eliminate potential problems earlier
  • Get a more personalized opinion and perspective 

3. Prioritizing

  • Listing down the findings in priority order gives a better understanding and clear path for the designer. 
  • The solutions can be implemented in each space resulting in a holistic and well-thought-out design.

4. Empathizing

  • Adding the human touch of emotions is a key part of producing an exemplary design.
  • Empathizing with the user and putting ourselves in their shoes can help us better understand their needs.

5. Planning using Anthropometrics

  • Anthropometrics is the study of measurements and the comfort of users. 
  • Using anthropometric studies to arrive at design solutions catered to the user at a more personal level.
  • For example, while designing an office floor, anthropometrics studies let us know the required space for each user and the circulation space needed.
Anthropometrics

6. Understanding the User Pathways

  • Observing and studying the major user circulation pathways in a designed built space, such as a shopping mall, can help in the placement of the shops, seating spaces, and design elements.

7. Creating Personas

  • Persona is the perception of someone’s character from another’s point of view. 
  • When it is difficult to understand a user’s needs by communicating with them, like in the case of children, personas can be created by talking to close kin such as a parent or teacher, to understand the behaviour patterns, need, and skills to ideate a better design.
  • It is important to create a proper persona after thoroughly researching. An error in understanding the target users translates into a faulty design.

8. Revisit Design

  • It is vital to revisit the entire design process, compare the design with the user’s needs, and ensure that the needs have been fulfilled without compromise. 
  • Re-evaluation of the design ensures that mistakes are avoided and nothing is missed out. 
  • The back and forth evaluation forms the crux of user-centric design and focuses on the user and their needs alone.

Architects across the world have designed exceptional spaces that cater to a targeted user demographic, which directly impact the users mentally and emotionally. 

One such example is The Lantern, Ohio State, U.S.A. The Lantern is an assisted living facility for aged dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. The houses here are designed based on the residential architecture of the 30s and 40s.

Revisit Design

The Lantern is a good study on a user-centric design where the user’s needs are understood through research, personas, and empathizing with the users.

Thus, it can be understood that user-centric design is a crucial aspect of architecture, and implementing it in just small focus areas can greatly impact the user experience. 

We hope that these tips and tricks help you achieve better design and look at a user-centric design from a more refreshed perspective.

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