User Centred Design

You may have heard the phrase not being able to see the wood for the trees, in a similar vein it’s often easy to overlook the problems your customers face when using your service if you are concentrated on legal protocols, internal processes and a technology strategy that keeps changing.

User Centred Design (UCD) is a process and set of tools used to create a service that first focuses on what users need before balancing this with the technical and business requirements.

So, what are the five key steps in the UCD process?

1. Understand the context of use and the user:

  • Who your likely users are
  • What they are trying to do
  • How they are trying to do it
  • How their life or work influences what they do
  • How they use and experience existing services

After this research is conducted and gathered through questionnaires, interviews, testing and observations, the results are then analysed. It has to be inclusive and must understand how people with different access needs or abilities might use your service, as well as the barriers they face.

Some of the tools that you will use to inform your UCD research will include ecosystem maps, stakeholder profiles, user personas, journey maps and two variable sensitivity tables.

User personas, for example, give the design team a representation of your users so they can have a clear picture of the people they are designing for, their goals, skills, attitudes, problems, lifestyle, etc.

2. Specify the user and business requirements

In this step, you list the user needs and look to align them with the business requirements. It is highly likely that conflicting goals will be uncovered at this stage. Here we'll also define:

  • The problems you are looking to solve.
  • What a successful joint solution to those problems would be for both the organisation and the users of its services.

3. Create a bank of potential solutions

Using the information from points 1 and 2 above, you then use some or all of the following to bring your potential solution to life:

  • User flows
  • Wireframes and prototypes
  • Designs for user onboarding
  • Information Architecture
  • UX copywriting
  • Accessibility features

4. Evaluate the effectiveness

You then need to evaluate your potential solutions to see if they meet the requirements you defined in point 2. This involves usability testing with actual users; these tests can include guerrilla testing, lab usability testing, phone interviews, contextual inquiry, unmoderated usability testing, card sorting and session recording.

5. Don't forget to iterate

Though this isn’t really a step, it’s best practice to ensure your design is always centred on user needs. Considering all the information you have gathered from the first design cycle, use it to inform future design choices. You’ll be able to tweak and fix aspects of your service that didn’t work as well as expected and therefore you’ll be able to make impactful changes to better serve your users.

At Wyser we are digital transformation specialists and one area in which we excel is helping organisations transform the front end of their customer journey. 

We’ve worked for a range of sectors including blue chip organisations, ombudsmen, and nationwide dispute conciliation services, all in highly regulated markets providing complex professional services to their customers. 

We assisted these organisations with digital transformation, customer journey optimisation, automation or artificial intelligence, by using a mixture of targeted organisational and process optimisation, that is:

  • Led by our consultancy and business analysis team which includes UCD specialists.
  • Supported by our solution development team that builds sector-leading solutions utilising the latest Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and Robotic Process Automation technologies.
  • Implemented by our delivery team, who either manage each engagement as a "turnkey" service, or work alongside a client's existing change management functions.

If you'd like to discuss how we could help you make significant improvements to your organisation as well as add value, why not get in touch with us today?