Human Centered Design: Better Products through Empathy and Iteration

Great products don’t simply appear in our lives—they’re the result of decades of refinement of design and engineering. Many of those iterations are brought about via a human focus, rather than a technical one. Instead of asking what’s wrong with an existing version of something, good designers ask what users need but don’t yet have. Asking this question over and over, focusing on user needs and stripping away the excess, until the product provides such an intuitive experience that it becomes ubiquitous within its space, is a methodology that has come to be known as Human Centered Design (HCD). In our latest Hardware Guide Post, we’ll look at the components of HCD and how you can leverage the process to develop marketable products that provide a lasting impact.

Final Romu prototype, shown at Stanford’s EXPE event.

HCD features three major phases:

  • Inspiration - divergent exploration of the product space
  • Ideation - repeated experimentation with various product components
  • Implementation - synthesis of a refined product with its most critical requirements

A deep dive into design leads to excellent product design and real innovation. Instead of settling on an idea and direction early on, repeatedly testing its components are what result in a quality product. Keep brainstorming, prototyping, and iterating, understanding that failure is not something to be feared, but rather a tool to be utilized for breakthrough, until only the core user needs are realized, empathized with, and solved. Check out the latest post on the Hardware Guide to learn more about HCD.

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