By adopting a User-Centered design approach, companies can create products that deliver on customer expectations, resulting in higher levels of user satisfaction and success.
What is User-Centered Design?
User-Centered Design (UCD) is a process that prioritizes users' needs, preferences, and goals.
By conducting in-depth research, testing, and interviews, designers can gain valuable insights into user behavior and develop a product that meets their needs and expectations.
UCD is a response to the traditional approach of developing complex systems that prioritize company goals over user needs. This approach often leads to products that fail to meet the needs of customers, resulting in a poor user experience and low success rates.
Thankfully, companies are recognizing the importance of UCD. The growing UX Design market is a testament to this trend, as businesses seek to create user-friendly products and experiences that drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The growth of UX Design
User-Centered Design is directly related to UX Design.
The growth of the UX market is evidence that companies are becoming more and more aware of UCD and user experience.
NN/g predicts that by 2050 we will have 100 million UX Design professionals.
Another survey by InVision indicates that Product Design teams within companies are growing. This is further proof that companies begin to understand the importance of User-Centered Design and are adapting to it.
So we are living in a time of growing UX Design and UCD trends. For product designers, the news couldn't be better, as it means increased opportunities to work in the field.
For companies, the news is even better, as the benefits of User-Centered Design directly impact their performance.
Reading Tip: Pivoting Your Career: What Is UX Design?
Benefits of User-Centered Design
We already understand that the concept of User-Centered Design is essential and, together with UX Design, is gaining ground in the market and among companies. But what exactly are the benefits of working with a UCD approach?
For the user, the answers are clearer:
- Needs are better met;
- Better experience in the use of products and services;
- Consequent improvements to their day-to-day life, such as agility and problem-solving.
But what about companies? What do companies gain by using UCD?
Benefits for companies
InVision researched the impacts of UX Design on Business. The report also highlights the benefits of a User-Centered Design approach for companies. See below:
1) Product quality
UCD can greatly improve the quality of a company's products. Aligned with UX Design processes, UCD focuses on user needs and is constantly receiving feedback on products.
Research and usability testing further reinforce the issue of product quality.
Having an iterative improvement process with the users themselves considerably increases the company's ability to improve its products and services.
2) Team productivity
Understanding the users' real needs and challenges provides better directions for your team's work. Knowing exactly what must be developed to meet the user's pains avoids wasting time and increases the team's productivity.
3) Brand value
Being closer to the user and developing products focusing on the user experience increases the Brand Equity of a product.
Brand Equity, despite being difficult to quantify, is a very important aspect of a product and for the company. It's about the image of a brand and what is the perception of value that consumers have of it.
4) Revenue increase and cost reduction
Increased sales and reduced costs happen as a consequence of User-Centered Design.
With better products, applying user experience concepts, and increasing brand value, an increase in product sales is very likely.
Aligned with this, the reduction of staff costs due to the better investment of time and reduction of project rework creates a situation of increased profitability for the company.
Reading Tip: Product Manager: Business, Technology, and User Experience
Benefits for the user
User-Centered Design has benefits outside of companies, too. After all, the goal of the concept is to improve user interactions and experiences. As opposed to an old mindset where Design was only focused on business goals. Here are some of the benefits for the user.
The way people communicate has a big impact on their lives. And nowadays most of the communication happens through technologies.
Developing a design that facilitates this communication and interaction of people around the world is one of the benefits that UCD brings to the user.
2) Quality of life
Developing products that meet users' needs also increase their quality of life.
Some products and applications help people solve their day-to-day problems or make life easier for users. Be it shopping at the supermarket, finding the best way home without traffic, or even ordering meals.
Working with UX Design and User-Centered Design is about helping people and bringing more quality of life and good times to the user.
"The possibility of helping people through my work really stirred me. I went into advertising to see my art, so when I saw my creations on billboards, I thought it was awesome. However, it was something very much my own. With UX and UI, I was able to really positively impact people's lives, understand their pains and needs, and be able to deliver my best to them." Diogo Alvarez, MID Student.
3) Democratization of technology
Putting the user in the focus of product development means creating democratic interfaces. That way, anyone can use your product or software, regardless of age, social class, or ethnicity.
Companies do not develop products only for people who can easily interact with technology. User-Centered Design carries the responsibility of developing user-friendly interfaces for everyone.
Reading Tip: Accessibility For Digital Products
Benefits for the designer
User-Centered Design also brings benefits to the UX Designers themselves.
1) More opportunities
As mentioned before, the UX market has been growing, and the tendency is for it to grow even more.
The professional who decides to change his career and pivot to UX will enter a booming market with many opportunities, especially in terms of growth and salary.
NN/g already predicts exponential growth in the UX market, with 100 million people in the area by 2050.
InVision's research also showed that more companies are looking for UX Designers and that staffing and salaries have been increasing in recent years.
2) Opportunities to go international
The growth of the market gives the UX Designer the possibility to get international opportunities.
The job market in other countries is already more mature, but there are still countless companies that are starting to build UX teams or are increasing their teams.
Some of our MID students are living proof that it's possible to work with UX outside of Brazil, even if you are not a Senior Designer!
- Israel Mesquita lives and works in Austria;
- Inis Leahy lives and works in Ireland;
- Daniel Hildebrandt is a Product Designer in Canada;
- Louise Santos has worked in New Zealand.
Reading Tip: UX Design in High Demand
3) A chance to help people
To work with UCD is to work directly on solving end-user pains and needs.
The UX Designer can, in this way, act to improve the quality of life of users. Unlike other professions, UX allows you to really see the positive impacts that your work brings to society and to people.
The possibility of helping people was one of the factors that led student Victor Rosato to pivot to UX Design.
"I kept seeing this other creative area (UX Design) growing, an area in which I could create something important, that impacts people, and so far I can say that this choice has been very nice." Victor Rosato
4) Participation in the company's strategy
Working with UX Design goes far beyond visual and interface issues.
UX Design is a strategic area in companies and is in constant contact with the objectives and goals of the company.
The Product Designer works to improve the user experience and consumer satisfaction is directly linked to the company's marketing and sales strategies. If the consumer is not satisfied, there is no revenue!
Companies have begun to understand the strategic role of Design in Business.
Therefore, for the Designer, UCD can be the gateway to working closer to the companies' strategy.
Companies have already understood the importance of UCD and UX Design. The market is booming. If you have never thought about becoming a UX Designer and working with UCD, maybe it is time for you to consider this possibility.