Basic methods for User Centred Design
You can get the main benefits of user centred design by using three simple techniques:
- Arrange a one day meeting of the main stakeholders (including the project manager and a user representative) to develop a clear shared vision for the purpose of the product, how it will be used and the usability goals.
- Evaluate early design concepts from a user perspective (preferably using paper and post-it-notes), before starting detailed design or coding.
- Test the usability of prototypes with real users.
When to use the techniques
The stakeholder meeting should take place as early as possible. Prototyping is valuable during requirements and design. Usability testing can take place once there is a functional prototype. It is also important to collect feedback from users after release to inform any redesign.
These techniques have been selected as the easiest and most cost-effective means of implementing the principles of user centred design. The techniques should if possible be used in conjunction with the other recommended methods.
Applying the techniques
Get someone who has used the techniques before to show you how to apply them the first time. (If you don't know anyone suitable you could contact one of the European Usability Support Centres.) Most of the techniques are applied common sense and easy to learn.
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