User-Centred Design (UCD)


User-centred design (UCD) is closely related to the study of ergonomics. UCD ensures that in the design and development of a particular tool, software or equipment, the human user is given immense consideration. User-centred designed products have a high level of usability which results in more effective and efficient productivity by the user.

The Design Process

There is an international standard for the designing of products under the User-centred design approach, ISO 13407: Human-centred design process.

The Usability Professionals Association describes the four main activities that a designer of a user-centred designed product must undertake:

  1. Determine the context in which the product will be used; Who is the user? What will it be used for? In what environment will it be used?
  2. Determine what the product will be used to achieve; What does the user need to achieve through using this?
  3. Conceive possible solutions; Brainstorm, develop prototypes.
  4. Critique designs; Assess the usability of the designs to select the best design.

Once this four-step process has been completed and an appropriate user-centred designed product developed, then the product can now be implemented into its destined workplace.

Why is USD Important?

User-centred design is important as it ensures that the tool, software or equipment is designed in the best possible way for the human user to safely, effectively and efficiently use it to achieve a particular goal.

Application in Aviation

In Aviation the safety of the user is incredibly important as a mistake caused by one user such as a pilot or air traffic controller can have a disastrous impact on many other people such as passengers or residents on the ground. Thus, user-centred design is incredibly important so that the likelihood of committing errors can be decreased, improving aviation safety levels.

1. Office of Government Commerce. (2000). User centred design. Great Britain: The Stationary Office.
2. Usability Professionals' Association. (2010). What is User-Centred Design?.
3. Wikipedia. (2010). User-centered design. Retrieved September 23, 2010 from

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