why human centered design?

Illustration by Eric Hanson

Illustration by Eric Hanson

Since I’ve started this class I’ve found myself explaining what exactly Human Centered Design is to people, and when I started it was something like “design for people”. Which isn’t necessarily wrong, but it has certainly blossomed into a more passionate and understood answer.

The Field Guide to Human-Centered design defines this particular field in Design as believing all problems (particularly social problems) are solvable, and that we as designers can solve them with the right approach and mindset. It focuses on a kind of design that embraces challenge, optimism, empathy, and an excitement to try without limits. It takes the way we think about problem solving within the world of design, the way we as designers have understood process and iteration in our work, and translates it into operating on a larger scale that works for everyone and can ultimately change the world.

I find human centered design to be the ultimate crossover between passion, pragmatism, and change. We as designers are already passionate for problem solving and process, which is laid out specifically in the Field Guide. Inspiration, ideation, and implementation as a non-linear process that we can use to problem solve both in social issues and our own design.

We as designers are at a unique intersection of the world; we’re in the tech world but not of it, we’re active in communities and in a special place where we can listen to others, and we are very passionate people. A lot of tech is being used for bad in the world. A lot of people who have resources to make change, won’t. The world is shifting and designers are in the middle of it, and we have the ability to use our resources for better. The Field Guide is beginning to show us how, and I’m excited for the rest.