User-Centered Design Approach
APV’s User-Centered Design Approach
A user-centered design approach helps concentrate on actual users and helps build entire development lifecycle around their problems. The process facilitates creating products and services that resonate with the audience’s needs and improves usage and impact in service offerings.
In every step of the process life cycle, it is important to prioritize user pain points, challenges, and choices. This helps in creating innovative products that are likely to improve user experience, usability, and productivity. When actual users have been empowered in the process, they develop a sense of ownership due to their close involvement.
The core principle of designing with this approach boils down to ‘design with the user’ by keeping the focus on people.
The user-centered design process relies on the following stages to resolve specific problems.
Implementation and Test
We will discuss the approach and process that must be followed in every step of the lifecycle. The process can be changed depending upon the type of product that is being developed.
We begin by learning from users or subject matter experts of the product. We evaluate every step the user is executing rather than assuming their thought process or ideas. It can be time-consuming to start with but yields the best results.
In this phase, we find the challenges at hand. It needs to be clear what obstacles the product design will be addressing.
Ask yourself questions like, “Who will use this product?” or “What goals are we helping our customers achieve?” Consider the environment, context, and aspirations of your users.
The imagination phase requires empathy—the capability of understanding another person’s experiences and emotions. We put ourselves in users’ shoes and ask questions to decide what products they are currently using, why and how they are using them, and the challenges they are trying to solve.
For each response, we will get clear ideas about possible outcomes and solutions as we clear the unknowns. We gather maximum information which helps us identify behaviors, challenges, and pains of using the system/process and to remove obstacles from designing the best user experience and improve productivity.
We were engaged to develop RPA (Robotic Process Automation) bots for a government agency where staff were involved in a lot of manual work with a defined set of processes. During the blueprint phase for the automation of the tasks, we realized that some steps could be perfected. We conducted sessions with staff and perfected the process with their help. They liked the process of understanding the challenges upfront so that the solution can be achieved through our assistance. The result was that the staff were completely engaged with the desired outcome from day one.
The ideation phase helps make sense of what we have learned in the imagination phase. This phase helps to find opportunities and create the right prototypes.
We start by gathering teams for a brainstorming session and educating them to adapt their thinking to a user’s perspective. The focus and goal is to achieve the one-in-a-million idea through collaborative efforts. We emphasize that no ideas are bad and include all the thoughts in the brainstorming process collectively.
Allowing everyone to speak up and produce ideas is the best way to discover and innovate. One benefit of user-centered design is co-creation. The co-creation approach allows everyone in the team to be included, to be relevant, and it leads to innovative user-centric thinking.
As we start completing the most workable and practical solution, we start conceptualization and building a prototype. The prototype can be shared with stakeholders for collecting respective feedback. A prototype can be a presentation or paper drawing. In some cases, we must develop a quick IT (Information Technology) prototype, which stakeholders can look at for feasibility. The goal is to collect input and evolve the ideas into acceptable solutions in cyclic fashion till everybody on the team is on the same page.
Implementation and Testing
The vital part of the user-centered design process is implementation and testing. Now that we know what needs to be done, we implement the ideas and start testing. We emphasize on getting user feedback at every stage so that we can make quick adjustments. We focus on questions like, “Do the targeted users understand how to use the product?” “Is the user satisfied?” “Does it solve the problem it was designed to address?”
An actual user of the product provides genuine feedback that can help improve prototypes before launching the product.
The final phase of the process is bringing that ideal solution to full production. The process is continual because users’ expectations will continue to evolve. Keeping users at the focal point in the development process ensures continuous innovation and achieving a usable product.
APV delivering with User-Centered approach
APV regularly partners with federal agencies and adopts a user-centered design approach in every project. APV has delivered projects featuring this approach in various agencies across industries such as Health & Human Services, Fed CIV, and the Department of Defense, to name a few.
We analyze our client’s unique needs and constraints and ensure our customized solutions exceed our client’s expectations in supporting their mission and objectives. APV’s SMEs, HCD specialists, UI/UX designers, architects, and programmers apply the right technology to deliver on time and on budget. Validating the final product satisfies the requirements.