User centered design (UCD) is a project approach that puts the intended users (audience) of a product or piece of technology at the centre of its research, design and development. It does this by talking directly to the user at key points in the project to make sure the product or piece of technology will deliver upon their perceived requirements and align the client with their market.
The following elements operate in a cycle being repeated until the project’s objectives have been attained. This makes it critical that the participants in these methods accurately reflect the profile of actual consumers.
ISO 13407 outlines four essential activities in a user centered design project:
Requirements gathering – Understanding and specifying the context of use
Requirements specification – Specifying the user, organisational, technological and standards requirements
Design – Producing concepts, architectures, visual designs and prototypes
Evaluation – Carrying out user based assessment of the product or technology