As technology and interfaces relentlessly advance into the future, the perception that the digital realm is overriding the world as we know isn’t hard to conclude. Many websites and applications are effectively allowing everyday users to live their lives with minimal human interaction, the “human” aspect may feel scarce. Yet, innovative design is much more human than ever. Digital design advancements in UX (user experience) design are based on the sole foundation of a human-centric perspective, and when fused with branding methodologies, the digital world is a lot more human than you may think.  

Person designing User Interface

Empathy is a Powerful Design Asset

UX designers and developers that exert human-centric practices into their digital projects, prioritize empathy within their designs. Empathy in digital design focuses on how the user will interact with a design, clear out any possible roadblocks that a user may encounter, and truly get to know the audience. It is empathy and understanding that helps UX designers streamline the creation process to arrive at the final product. With empathy, you place yourself in the mindset of a user to problem solve by ideating, prototyping, testing, and then finally implementing. When a design goes beyond aesthetics and instead places an emphasis on usability, accessibility, and ease of use, a design becomes propelled on the path toward a successful digital product. 

Related: Why Developers Need a Contextual Framework to Truly Understand Their Users

Human-Centric Extends to Branding

To separate UX design from branding would be doing those disciplines a huge disservice. UX design reflects branding, as they share a common visual design system language across all mediums for consistency. Further, applying human-centric practices to branding aligns with the intent of striking emotion and a lasting impression for your audience’s enjoyment. Long are the days of the “sales pitch” angle, as brands have pivoted toward making their brands approachable, usable for all, and in turn, more human. 

Color charts on designers desk

Related: Inclusion and Accessibility in the Digital Space

Careful research on your brand and creating user personas is padded by understanding consumer/user perspective, language, values, beliefs, goals, and needs. This helps to tailor marketing approaches for branding and develops the user experience and overall positioning. 

Human-Centric Design within Your Workflow

Human-centric design can be extended internally within teams of UI/UX designers as well—highlighting just how impactful it can be. Not only does asking the right questions about your users create a streamlined project delineation and process, but because the human-centric design is all about placing the user at the centerfold, it opens the door to iterative methodologies. 

Related: Implementing Best Practices for Web Design with Iterative Methodologies

By iterating your workflow processes, developers, designers, strategists, and project managers can cycle and update any changes based on user preferences, and client feedback. Internally, however, teams can collaborate until a stage ready to be shared with stakeholders is at a good standing point. This is very much human-centric because it involves a design team’s expertise in the equation, but the digital project is not solely based on what the design team wants, but rather on what audiences prefer.  

Person doing wireframes on iPad

Working to achieve just that, is what places an empathetic, human perspective. One of the more flexible advantages of iterative is you don’t have to be UI/UX designers to utilize iterative design methods. Its base can also be customized to fit any workflow across most industries. 

A human-focused mindset prioritizes real people’s perspectives, which has, and should be the standard for the UX world. New behaviors and expectations are always evolving into something new that moves along with the meteoric pace of digital, cultural, and technological ways of thinking. Standing too still in an idea that once worked, invalids what human-centric is all about. It is about adapting and innovating for the better and future.