User-Centered Design Put Simply: Satisfy Me

I recently attended a User-Centered Design (UCD) workshop – in which the instructor presented the video below.

My first thought was – what? How does this relate to UCD? I then had an “AH HA! Moment” (as Oprah would put it).

The importance of UCD makes sense as I found myself browsing websites, some of which I commonly visit and some I don’t, to identify whether a good design job was done to “satisfy the cat” (a.k.a., me).

For instance, I went to [insert major car rental company’s website here] to compare the price difference between renting an Intermediate SUV, Standard SUV, and Luxury SUV. I found myself lost and frustrated. If I was serious about wanting to rent one of these cars, I would have left the site and gone to another that does a better job of displaying the options (perhaps one of the online travel sites).

You shouldn’t recognize good UCD when browsing the web (unless you’re a web design/usability nerd like me) because good UCD just works. Poor UCD, on the other hand, is very easy to point out because it frustrates users, and ultimately leads to a loss in sales or productivity.

UCD is about making informed design decisions. It’s about knowing your users (“the cats”) through analysis, user testing, focus groups, surveys, site analytics, user interviews, and other relevant technologies.

The next time you surf the web and visit an old favorite or something new, think about its design — does it do a good job of satisfying your needs or was it clear that the design was meant to satisfy the “creative” demand of the designers or internal stakeholders?

What are your thoughts about our website? Is it easy to navigate and find information? Comment and let us know if it “satisfies the cat” (a.k.a., you).

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