User Centered Design: how the design can lead to success

User Centered Design

The user centered design (UCD) is an approach to the design that places the person at the center of the entire process, as its own name indicates, establishing the final target user of the project as the main, and almost unique, protagonist. This aspect of design can be understood as a process in which the user is considered in all design stages to guarantee the success of the product or service that is being developed.

If there is something that is the main point in this methodology, it is empathy, since it is about understanding the people to whom you are designing and making it from their perspective; to put yourself in the shoes of the other and from that point to come up with an innovative solution.

Designing through this method means “believing that people who face this problem every day are the ones who have the key to solve them”, explains the consultancy IDEO, a pioneer in the application of this methodology.

Which is its design process?

The user centered design process involves the user in all the steps of product creation, from the conceptualization to development, through evaluation. The main objective is that the user finds the product useful and easy to use, satisfying the needs and desires. In this sense, the UCD design phases are key to be able to plan, sectorize and know when and how to do things.

A project that integrates this methodology will have four main phases: research, definition, generation and evaluation. All these steps have iteration as a commom denominator, which means that, despite having four marked steps through which the final product or service will reach, these should never be seen as watertight and successive stages, but must be carried out iteratively. Each phase feeds back on the users answers in the previous step to improve and adapt the designed elements so far.

User Centered Design

How does the UCD apply in GESAB?

One of the strongest points in the projects we develop at GESAB is that we put people in the center.

During the design and development phase of our solutions we apply the user centered design substantially improving the user experience, both of the product and the enviroment where they are integrated.

In last years, more demanding and comprehensive guidelines in terms of ergonomics that cover the physical and emotional part have been developed, but without exclusively focusing on the operator, but on the entire ecosystem of the involved users in the proper functioning of the complex environment that form the control rooms, from the assembler to the maintenance or cleaning staff of the facilities, for example.

With this approach the entire ecosystem of possible users is considered from the initial phase of design to not leave any detail to chance and control as many variables as possible during the useful life of the product. Thus, they avoid operational problems and facilitate the work of all professionals involved in the activity of these critical environments. The assembly phases in the facilities are also taken into account to make them as comfortable and fast as possible, considering the health of the operators and the efficiency of time and costs.

Another key point in the operativity of the product is the maintenance, since it can critically affect to the operation and performance of the workspace and, as a consequence, of the room. That is why GESAB always puts the maximum effort into offering solutions aimed at minimizing the impact to maintenance time, being able in many cases to even perform hot tasks thanks to the application of sectorization in consoles. This means that there are independent, easy and convenient accesses that allow people to more easily manipulate the large amount of equipment and wiring common in control consoles without having to block the work of the operator.

The UCD is especially useful when dealing with digital products due to the high complexity of human-machine interacctions. In this sense, the Dinamyc KVM DeskWall has been developed with special attention to the user, testing and continually improving the application from its perspective with the aim of designing a solution that is easier to use (Smart mouse), more comfortable (Follow me), ergonomic (digital ergonomics) and sercure (Distribuited Cluster).

The user centered design help us to create better productos and services by focusing innovation on solving real needs of the people who will use our products.

People-centered design helps us create better products and services by focusing innovation on solving the real needs of the people who will use our products.

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