User-Centered Design

User-centered design concepts are used globally and are becoming increasingly important because everything designed and created is for an audience and a user. There are many different concepts, mental models, product life cycle, iterative design, user requirements vs. business requirements, and more. Below is a discussion of two user-centered design concepts.

Iterative Design
It is impossible to design a user interface that has no usability issues from the beginning. There are always problems at the start; that’s why the usability engineering lifecycle was created around iteration. The cycle involves a steady refinement of the design based on user testing and other evaluation methods. The term “iterate” refers to repeatedly performing, which is precisely what iterative design does.

I believe that iterative design is the best way to create a product or service. Continually testing and updating a product is how they become better and better. “Through iterations, designers understand, explore, and validate their assumptions, with the ability to always go back and forth through this process until the assumption achieves a lower risk of failure.” Every time the product is being tested and going through iteration, the closer the product gets to be the best it can be. Users are the individuals that designers need to understand and get to know because if you don’t have users, then you don’t have anyone to design a product for. User research falls into that level of importance because you need to know who you are designing for. User research needs to be done before iterative design even works.

I believe that iterative design goes hand in hand with the product life cycle.

Product Life Cycle
There are a lot of steps in the product life cycle. The first step is the concept. The next is design, then development, and the last step is to release the product. Within step two, design, iterative design comes into play, but it also comes into play during phase four when you release the product. The product life cycle occurs multiple times, which is why it’s a cycle. Once the product has been released doesn’t mean the product is never updated or touched again. This is where iterative design comes in because once the product is released, the users can give feedback, and testing occurs, and then the designers can go back and create solutions to the problems. I believe that a product’s life cycle never actually ends. I think there are always ways to improve and better a product. Much more goes into it than just the primary names of each stage in the cycle.

Use Life Wisely » Blog Archive » Evolution of the iPhone: From Original to  XR
Evolution of the iPhone

The best example of a product life cycle is the iPhone from Apple. Every year we look forward to the next updated iPhone; even though we don’t need it, Apple finds a way to show the public that the new iPhone is revolutionary. When the first iPhone came out, it was small; it had a home button, it only had one camera. Every year since the first iPhone came out, Apple creates a new one. The most revolutionary feature that the iPhone has “invented” is using facial recognition to unlock the phone. This is the perfect example of a product life cycle because it shows you that the product’s life never ends. It only continues to grow and become better through user testing. The iPhone is an example that can exhibit both a product life cycle and an iterative design.

References:

Baxter, Kathy, et al. Understanding Your Users: a Practical Guide to User Research Methods. Morgan Kaufmann, 2015. 

“Design Iteration Brings Powerful Results. So, Do It Again Designer!” The Interaction Design Foundation, http://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/design-iteration-brings-powerful-results-so-do-it-again-designer.

Rengifo, Eder. “Iterations in the Design Process.” Medium, Prototypr, 28 Mar. 2018, blog.prototypr.io/iterations-in-the-design-process-41bd8d01f244.

Riserbato, Rebecca. “The 6 Stages of the Product Life Cycle.” HubSpot Blog, blog.hubspot.com/marketing/product-life-cycle.

World Leaders in Research-Based User Experience. “Iterative Design of User Interfaces.” Nielsen Norman Group, http://www.nngroup.com/articles/iterative-design/.


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