Top 4 Challenges Of User-centered Design
Top 4 Challenges Of User-centered Design

User-centered design brings about many benefits in product development (Read more: What Is User-centered Design) but it also comes with no shortage of challenges.


1/ Conducting user research under a limited time and budget. As mentioned in the previous article (The Myths Of User-centered Design), many businesses tend to see user research as an additional expense and are reluctant to invest in this particular activity. Customers want a customer-centric service but they are not very willing to invest their own experiences or take the time to understand their problems. 

It is understandable that organizations want the product to be delivered in the shortest time required. However, limited time and budget for user research as well as product design will lead to a lower quality or even a useless product, which ends up costing more money and time in order to fix the product.
2/ Wide gap between design and development. This challenge proves most daunting in companies where waterfall methodology dominates. In such an environment, the interaction between designers and development teams is very limited and the work is mainly based on predefined documents.
Developers and designers have different roles and may work in different stages in the creation of a product. Therefore, it is not very unusual to have a disconnection between them. However, the wider the gap, the longer it takes to complete the product. One solution for this is to get the designers involved at the early stages of the process, even in kick-off call with clients. This will keep designers and developers on the same page and therefore, avoid miscommunication.
3/ Fail to source the right participants. According to the 2019 State of UX in the Enterprise survey, 43% of the respondents claim that recruiting participants is always one of the most persistent pain points in conducting user research. Finding enough participants might not be difficult but finding the “right” participants definitely is. The right participants should be the ones who can provide you with valuable and actionable insight.
Even with a large pool of people to pick from, organizations still need to focus on clarifying the right target demographic. A detailed and effective screening question may be a good start. This is an opportunity for you to have a bit more control over who will participate in your test before they begin. This will also help you filter out anybody who wouldn’t necessarily be right for it, ensuring you’re gaining insights from only the most valuable and relevant participants.
4/ Fail to adapt to client's level of maturity. This refers to the ability to understand the context of the company, its realities and the particular needs to take advantage of inertia and start the changes with the least possible effort and in the most transparent way possible for the client.
Organizations often mature and go through a process that ranges from an initial skepticism, to widespread trust in user-centered design methodologies. A good strategy is to step-by-step achieving small goals and communicating them to everyone participating in the project. It is important to make incremental changes to the project and to get the clients involved so they can quickly see what they get from their investment.
To Sum Up, 

Every year comes with a new set of challenges that both designers and developers must consider in order to improve the UCD. It may be tempting to compromise something sometimes, but it is worth bearing in mind that all users’ needs have to remain in the center. This is the only way to design a product that ensures a positive experience to its users.



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