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Smashing UX Design: Foundations for Designing Online User Experiences by Jesmond Allen, James Chudley

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Chapter 1: Understanding the User-Centered Design Process

What is “user-centered design” (UCD) and why does it matter? What has UCD got to do with a book about smashing UX? UCD matters because great digital experiences are born from considering the end user of your product at every stage of the conception and design process. Who will use this product? Why will they use this product? How will they use this product? If you can answer these questions, you are well on your way to a great UX.

This book discusses digital user experience design in the form of websites and apps, but user-centered design can be applied to any design discipline. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition of UCD:

User-centered design... is a design philosophy and a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. User-centered design can be characterized as a multi-stage problem-solving process that not only requires designers to analyze and foresee how users are likely to use a product, but also to test the validity of their assumptions with regards to user behavior in real world tests with actual users. [Wikipedia, “User-centered Design” article, 12 July 2011]

Designers practice UCD because it helps them make better decisions. By thinking about the end user of a website or app at every stage of the design process, the designs are more robust. By testing the designs with real users, the designs improve and are validated. ...

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