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Evolving your design with changes in trends

Friday, February 21st, 2014 by Servage

We usually design websites for our clients. Yet, most visitors to our clients’ sites are considered their targeted audience. And so ultimately, we look at end users as the base of a pyramid and our web designs as user-centric. From the pyramid perspective, clients are actually lower priority than users. User-centric designing serves most of our purposes for client-centric design work.

User-Centric Design

In the early days of web design, we did client-centric designs with the idea that clients are our bread and butter. Once we started incorporating user research, and accounting for user experiences through guerilla methods, we began evolving towards user-centric web design. Currently, designers practice several methods, with user experience as our foremost concern. Of course, client requirements matter, but truly today’s web demands that we consider user experience through content, design and coding. Performance for our sites and web applications are also important, and so we do performance optimization. Conversion is our client’s end goal, and so we also implement and tweak conversion optimization.

Human-Centric Design

If the designer feels satisfaction with their own user-centric design, that is good. However, becoming stagnant or stuck on the evolution path is an outright sin for web designers. Web technologies and devices are advancing rapidly today; therefore, it is mandatory for members of the web design community to adapt to such changes by taking appropriate advancements in their approach to designing. In user-centric design, we focus solely on the targeted audiences. While feasible in the short term, this is not sufficient if you realize the future of our targeted audience could widen to include broader categories of people. Therefore, the ultimate approach involves designs that are currently applicable for all humans. This is why I prefer human-centric web designing over the user-centric approach.

How To Evolve

In human-centric design, the general population is central to our focus, or at the base of our pyramid. The scope of our audience is broad, but the roles still clear. Our clients are at the top of the pyramid, end users are next, designers and the web development community are on the next tier, and then the general population who may or may not be related to the purpose of the site are at the base. With such a wide scope, you may do extra prep work in your designing, such as more wireframes and prototypes. Your strategies will change and become more diverse as you make plans beyond mere usability and user experiences.

By thinking your website is made for all of humanity, your approach becomes more human friendly. You are mindful about accessibility of your website. You take into account other web designers who might access your website for debugging, redesign or maintenance purposes. All members of the web design community become your users and so you make an effort to give added value to the site’s design, that they may appreciate your efforts and possibly push your work via social networking and other channels.

Once you start thinking about all humans rather than a narrow subset of end users, you will avoid extremity in your designs. Thus, only lean and efficient approaches work in this paradigm. In order to evolve with your evolving designs, you have to constantly strive for feedback.  And this is best done through active involvement on various social media, where currently a very large human audience is participating. Keeping a sharp eye on social commentary and, more specifically blog comments, is not only ideal for evolution in designs, but helps best for adapting to present trends.

References & More Reading

How Human Centric Web Design Improves Your Workflow
Understanding Creative Thinking

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