Human Centered Design (HCD) is arguably a concept triggered by the famous work of Christopher Alexander, Notes on the Synthesis of Form (1964). His entire work, as he noted at the beginning, is “… about the process of design: the process of inventing things which display new physical order, organization, form, in response to function.”
And the fact that the author discusses clearly the process by which a form is adapted to the context of human needs and demands that has called it into being, is what gives the book a rather wide degree of acceptance.
Originated by IDEO, a nonprofit itself dedicated to applying human-centered design to alleviate poverty, Human Centered Design, according to their handbook, is “a process and a set of techniques used to create new solutions for the world.
Whether the “solutions” be products, services, environments, organizations, and modes of interaction, the authors add:”The reason this process is called ‘human-centered’ is because it starts with the people we are designing for. ”
Yet going about HCD entails looking at design in terms of the “Three Lenses of Human Centered Design “: Desirability (What do people desire?), Feasibility (what is technically and organizationally feasible?) and Viability (what can be financially viable?).
In detail, the designers of the HCD toolkit explain that the Desirability lens calls for examining the needs,dreams, and behaviors of the people we want to affect with our solutions, while listening to and understanding what they want.
And “once we have identified a range of what is Desirable, we begin to view our solutions through the lenses of Feasibility and Viability” (HCD Toolkit, 10). But eventually, the solutions that emerge at the end of the Human-Centered Design should hit the overlap of the three lenses(that point where the solution is deemed desirable, feasible and viable).
Ultimately, such a desirable, feasible,and viable idea must have been obtained in phases of ” Hear”, “Create”, before you finally “Deliver” (HCD Toolkit, 11).
About the writer
Moses Omusolo is the Social Media Manager, C4DLab.