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User-centered design

User-centered design puts user needs at the heart of the entire software development process to ensure that products solve real user problems.


By engaging users to research and test new solutions, businesses that take a user-centered design approach reduce the time, cost, and risk of developing new software products.

What is it?

An approach to software development that identifies and prioritizes user needs and involves users in testing and ongoing optimization.

What’s in it for you?

User-centered design reduces the time and cost of development and ensures you create solutions that meet user needs, helping increase customer satisfaction and revenue.

What are the trade-offs?

A small upfront investment is required, but this is more than offset by the potential business benefits of reduced costs and increased revenue and profit.

How is it being used?

Many industry disruptors have championed user-centered design as a critical part of their business model, helping them create differentiated, easy-to-use products that solve customers’ problems.

What is it?


User-centered design is the process of putting user needs and problems at the heart of software design and development. 


The process begins with understanding user needs before prioritizing features based on value to the user, technical feasibility, and business viability. After prioritizing features, user-centered design involves prototyping and testing these features with users in an iterative way. 

What’s in it for you?


User-centered design of software products isn’t new, but many businesses don’t fully understand its value. Many organizations still favor feature development over user-centered design, which can increase costs and increase the risk of developing a product that isn’t fit for purpose.


There is immense business value in taking a user-centered design approach early in the software development process. Numerous studies have shown that businesses that prioritize design increase revenue and customer loyalty. And focusing design on the experiences users receive offers significant returns, too. Research by Forrester found that, on average, every dollar invested in user experience brings 100 in return — an ROI of 9,900%.

What are the trade offs?


The biggest risk associated with user-centered design is failing to do it, which can lead to users rejecting the features you’ve spent time and money developing.


With user-centered design, however, you can quickly identify features that have little or no value for users before you invest any resources in them, helping you reduce development costs. Although user-centered design requires some upfront investment, the effort and cost involved in researching and testing products with users are relatively small compared to the total cost of delivery.

How is it being used?


User-centered design is used in many businesses to help reduce the time, cost, and risk of developing software products. Leading proponents of user-centered design, such as Airbnb, Apple, and PayPal, have disrupted their industries by meeting clearly defined user needs.


By putting users at the center of design and development — from the initial discovery stage all the way through to ongoing optimization — businesses are creating products, services, and experiences that solve user problems. It’s an approach that many companies have adapted to help them build stronger relationships with customers and improve top and bottom-line financial performance.

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