In broad terms, user-centered design (UCD) is a type of user interface design and a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. User-centered design can be characterized as a multi-stage problem solving process that not only requires designers to analyse and foresee how users are likely to use a product, but also to test the validity of their assumptions with regards to user behaviour in real world tests with actual users. Such testing is necessary as it is often very difficult for the designers of a product to understand intuitively what a first-time user of their design experiences, and what each user's learning curve may look like.
The chief difference from other product design philosophies is that user-centered design tries to optimize the product around how users can, want, or need to use the product, rather than forcing the users to change their behavior to accommodate the product.
Read more about User-centered Design: UCD Models and Approaches, Purpose, Elements, Rhetorical Situation, Analysis Tools Used in User-centered Design, User-centered Design, Needs and Emotions, User-centered Design in Product Lifecycle Management Systems
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