Introduction to human-centred design

Human-centred design (HCD) is a creative approach to problem solving and puts the end user at the heart of the solution.

By discovering who your target audience is and designing your solution around their needs, you can enable a solution that works for your user’s context.

These eLearning modules provide you with an introduction to HCD. You’ll learn about:

  • what HCD is
  • the evolution of HCD
  • why we do HCD
  • how HCD is used in government and the benefits.

Each of the modules below shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.

HCD has been adopted by governments across the world to transform the way they identify problems, find solutions and deliver services to their citizens. But what actually is HCD?

What is HCD?

Championed by Nobel Prize laureate Herbert Simon, developed and taught by the Stanford University Design School, and leveraged by design firm IDEO, HCD is a creative problem-solving process that begins with understanding human needs and ends with innovative solutions to address those needs. But where did it all begin?

A brief history of HCD

HCD is based on the adoption of a number of mindsets, focused on the practice of resilience, creative confidence, empathy, the acceptance of ambiguity, optimism and a willingness to iterate. But why should we do HCD?

Why do HCD?

HCD offers a straightforward way to develop a much deeper understanding of the needs of the recipient of government services and their experience with a government program.

HCD in government

At the cornerstone of HCD, empathy is a key mindset that is required to understand different people, scenarios and places.

It provides a way to include the people you’re designing for within the design process, to leave behind preconceived ideas and old thinking and to keep work grounded in the reality of users.

The importance of empathy in HCD

Every design process begins with a specific and intentional problem to address. This is called a design challenge.

A challenge should be approachable, understandable and actionable, and it should be clearly scoped—not too big or too small, not too vague or too simple.

How do I get started with HCD?