Human-centered Design vs. User-centered Design

There are many different ways to categorize a website. One of these groupings is human-centered design versus user-centered design. It is important to understand the characteristics of each in order to decide which is better for your website.

Human-centered design

Human-centered design is the process that considers human characteristics, perception and psychology and creates the project based on those findings. This means human characteristics as a whole; it doesn’t specifically target any one demographic, but considers the general thoughts of all humans.

This sort of design is much more general. The creation is based off of the broad-spectrum of human characteristics and the ways they understand their environment.

Benefits of a human-centered design

Human-centered design allows your website to be created for a very wide range of visitors. It doesn’t target any one demographic or shopper. Instead, it targets the human experience as a whole by considering the ways that humans generally react to any given element of your website.

As a very basic example, consider the way the color yellow makes you feel. Studies suggest yellow is a color that reflects happiness and optimism. Furthermore, the color yellow isn’t targeting any specific demographic, rather it is targeting the human experience and reaction to the color yellow as a whole. Choosing the color yellow for your website would be an example of human-centered design.

Drawbacks of a human-centered design

Though all websites should be created to consider the human experience as a whole (that’s just general best-practice), you shouldn’t only consider human-centered design.

If you want to drive the most possible traffic to your site, you should always have a target audience. By utilizing a human-centered design, you neglect to appeal to a target audience, but rather you cater to all audiences.

This isn’t a bad thing, but if you really want your company to be successful, you should have a target demographic and design your website around their interests.

When should I use a human-centered design?

Using a human centered design is great for companies that target every demographic. This would include cereal box designs, department stores, fast food restaurants—places that sell products that aren’t demographic-specific.

User-centered design

User-centered design can be considered extremely similar to human-centered design. The main difference is that allows your website to target a certain demographic. Where human-centered design tends to target all demographics, this kind of design considers the behaviors and reactions of the target audience for the company’s product and creates a website to match those needs.

This kind of design involves much more research on the designer’s end because they target the most important details needed to produce a site for a specific demographic. These considerations include age, gender, social status, and potential education level.

After studying these distinguishing factors in the website’s target audience, a designer can then produce a website that is friendly to all users, but especially a specific audience.

Benefits of user-centered design

User-centered design allows the target demographic to feel comfortable within your site and even coerce them to purchase your products.

For example, if your company sells toys to children and utilizes a user-centered design, the page might be covered with bright colors and interactive buttons. This would likely draw in the parents and children alike, allowing the product more likely to be sold to its target demographic.

Drawbacks of user-centered design

User-centered designs really don’t have any drawbacks. This is because when you are selling a product, your job as a company is to target your audience wisely in order to make more sales.

This tactic allows you to do just that.

When should I use a user-centered design?

A user-centered design should be used for when you have a product that is aimed at serving a specific demographic.

This could be anything from kitchen cabinets to children’s toys; nearly every company has a target demographic!

Are they interchangeable?

There are many web developers that consider these two terms to be interchangeable, and there is some truth to that. However, the two terms are important indicators of how detailed your site is.

Because of this, the two terms might have similar meanings, but should be distinguished in order to produce a website that is either targeting a wide-spread demographic or a tighter target.

Without knowing these details, your website may fall behind, simply because it isn’t doing its job in targeting the audience that would buy the most of a certain product.

Allow us to help you decide

If you are unable to interpret what kind of design your website needs, allow us to help you decide what is best for you!

We have a dedicated team that will consider every aspect of your company in order to determine what kind of site is best for you. Contact us today!