Our process of Human-Centered Design begins with the creation of personas that represent users of the system, which we base on information gained from conducting interviews with real people. This provides a useful understanding of the user group for which the design process is built around. Next, we elaborate on user stories, which are requirements written from the perspective of the user and take the form: “As a [Role], I want [Action/Feature] so that [Benefit].” Finally, we create wireframes and mockups that are incrementally presented to end users and stakeholders for feedback. These steps allow our design team to understand the perspective of the end user and quickly and easily incorporate improvements, ensuring the best possible result.
Human-Centered Design begins with an exploration and understanding of the needs of the end user, and how the service being designed will fit into their lives. The constraints of technology do not dictate our design, rather we are guided by the real issues that customers encounter and want solutions for. We continually test the products we build to generate feedback from real people, so that we remain focused on what is important to them.
We know that people interact with our services in a number of ways, and so we make the effort to understand how they do so, be it online, through a mobile app, on a phone or in person. Our products are designed so that digital aspects of our services are integrated with offline touch points. We do this because we believe that every encounter—be it online or off, on a phone or on a desktop—should move users closer to their goals.
In order for a service to be considered complete, it must be simple and intuitive enough that users can succeed the first time, unaided. Our simple and flexible design guides help us to consistently achieve this goal. We’ve also realized the importance of dismissing our own assumptions and being willing to learn new things each time we begin the design process, so that we are sure that our products are being designed right way.
An important benefit of utilizing the incremental, fast-paced style of Human Centered Design is that it reduces the risk of failure. By getting working mockups of software into users’ hands early and often, our design and development teams have the opportunity to make adjustments based on feedback and identify improvements while there’s still time to make them. Quickly adapting to new ideas leads to less redesign work and an overall faster integration.
Our process of Human Centered Design puts the user first and prioritizes an intuitive and elegant user experience. This process is informed by a wide range of standards, including ISO 9241-210:2010, especially the six key principles to ensure a design is user-centered; the US Digital Services playbook, focusing on the digital services plays; and the IDEO.org field guide, in particular the tools and techniques.