What is human-centered design?
Human-centered design is an approach to creating products, systems, and services that are effective and enjoyable to use. By placing the user at the center of the design process, we ensure that we create great user experiences (UX). A human-centered approach to design and development helps lead to positive user experiences, by ensuring that our artifacts are easy to learn and use, are fun and enjoyable, and help users to achieve their goals.
What kinds of artifacts and experiences do you create using human-centered design?
Web sites, mobile applications, desktop applications, kiosks, vehicle dashboards, smart watches, educational tools, productivity applications, visual interfaces, and more.
What exactly will I get to do as a human-centered designer?
There are several common processes that you will use to design in a human-centered way:
- User Research—we get to know our users and their needs by conducting observations and interviews
- Understanding the Problem—we use insights from user research to ensure we are addressing the right problem, and identify ways we can address the problem
- Prototyping—we brainstorm, sketch, and create low and high fidelity physical and digital prototypes
- Evaluation—we conduct usability testing and understand how users think about our design solutions to identify and correct any issues that prevent the user from having a great experience.
What kind of jobs do people with these skills get?
Job titles include: User experience (UX) designer, usability engineer, information architect, interaction designer, user experience architect, information designer, user interface designer, UX developer, and user researcher.
Are these skills in demand on the job market?
Human-centered design and development skills are in high demand, ranking in several lists of top high-paying careers. Starting salaries in HCDD are about $63,000, according to a report by the Nielsen Norman Group. Try searching job sites for some of the titles listed above to see for yourself what the current job-market demand is like.
What is the student experience like in the HCDD major?
Most HCDD courses are taught in studio environments, where students are actively engaged in working on projects, learning concepts and skills that have tangible applications. The major is structured around two types of studios: HCDD Studios and Experience Studios. In HCDD Studios, students learn, hands-on, how to conduct user research, frame problems, create prototypes and evaluate them. In the Experience Studios, students apply the skills they learned in the HCDD Studios to work on client projects. By the time they graduate, HCDD students will have 3.5 years of working experience on real client projects.