About the author and UCD

Nick Richmond

I’ve worked around London for 14 years practising User Experience (UX), User Centred Design (UCD) and User Research (UR), the last 4 specialising in research. I enjoy  –

  • The challenge of formulating useful questions
  • Co-creating ideas and designs
  • Testing and refining them
  • Letting the real world into the codebase

As products, services, technologies, and audiences continually evolve, so to should the questions and methods used to inform them. That said, some are constant
e.g. “Do we know enough yet to make something useful and usable?”, and
“How best to use resources until we do?”

Insights gleaned from small studies (qualitative data) gain perspective from webstats, surveys, KPIs, service logs, transaction records etc. (quantitative data) –
Or put another way quant’ outlines a picture which qual’ helps colour in.
e.g.
Quant –  1/5 failed to open door
Qual – User reported not noticing signage (not at eye level?)

UCD can do only so much
“Fail early, fail fast !”

A joined up approach toward user centred design

Don Norman coined the term User Centred Design – UCD (Wikipedia and W3C) in the early 80s in his book ‘The Design of Everyday Things”.
It describes understanding users and their contexts, and letting their feedback inform an iterative product development cycle.

Agile (SCRUM), currently the popular methodology for developing digital products and services, usually has the team working to fortnightly sprint cycles. When used with a model of product/service development that supports iterative improvement (not just chunking product features down into the backlog), it can fit well with research.

There’s already a mountain written about user research, but nonetheless I hope this blog will be an accessible and practical contribution. UCD,  agile and research can fit well together, but in my experience, each project team will do it differently and getting there takes practice.

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