What is Human Centred Design?

Steve Jobs once proclaimed, “True innovation comes from recognising an unmet need and designing a creative way to fill it.” 

With the world the way it is today, completely engulfed by the unstoppable wave of technology, it has become easy to create and develop products. The online marketplace is flooded with content. People’s attention spans are low. And it is precisely for these reasons that the way to true innovation today is through people– understanding their habits and experiences, their struggles and aspirations– in order to give them what they actually need, in the midst of a world that constantly tells them how they feel and what they want.



This is Human Centred Design; a creative problem solving approach that puts people at the heart of the process. Whether designing for the identity and experience at a café, the improvement of a government health system, or the journey through an interactive exhibition, Human Centred Design focuses on improving the human experience within any context and environment.

Although this has always been an intuitive approach for designers, leaders in various industries– government, business, medical, engineering…– have realized its value over the past few decades and adopted it as the tool for innovation in their respective fields. As a result, the demand for designers has increased exponentially in recent years. Think of Steve Jobs’s relentless innovation with apple products, every iteration designed to make our digital interactions as easy and smooth as possible. Think of Tesla’s vision of making sustainable transportation accessible to everyone, or Google’s endeavours to make information accessible to anyone, anywhere. 

What Exactly Is Human Centred Design?

Human centred design is a creative process that involves building empathy towards the people we are designing for, defining the core of the problem to be addressed, and exploring different solutions in order to arrive at the best one. Its ultimate aim is to improve people’s lives through innovation that provides them with better, more intuitive experiences.

What does a Human Centred Designer do?

Human centred designers put people first and involve them in every step of the process, they approach the design process with a mindset of empathy, collaboration, optimism and experimentation. In other words, they put themselves in the shoes of the people they’re designing for; they work with all parties involved to find the best solution; they believe that they can make real impact; they are not afraid to take risks and learn by doing.

Human centred design teams work on a wide range of projects; they are not limited to a specific field or medium or output. The nature of the process that they follow allows them to be adaptable and agile, easily moving between different projects and working with professionals from various fields. The teams themselves are usually made up of people from diverse backgrounds– psychology, social sciences, behavioural design, visual design, experience design, engineering, etc… One thing’s for sure, it never gets boring in the design studio. There’re always new ideas to explore and interesting topics to discuss.

How can you become a Human Centred Designer?

To get started in a career of Human Centred Design, a unique skill set is required to understand the complexity of design principles in all its forms. Taking a design course will equip you with the technical and cognitive tools you need to start your journey as a human centred designer.

Find out more about studying Digital Design.