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Human-centered design (HCD) is an intentional process in which the needs, motivations, and limitations of the people using a product or service are considered. The HCD process focuses on user needs and characteristics, usability goals, environment, tasks, and workflow in the design of a product and the services that enable it, like communications and governance.

HCD follows a series of well-defined methods for analysis, design, and evaluation of hardware, software, and web interfaces. The HCD process is iterative, generally predictable, and repeatable. Research, design, and evaluation steps are built in from the first stage of each project, and they continue throughout to implementation.

We've provided a brief overview of the HCD process @ CMS below, but the best way to learn more is to take our "Intro to HCD" course that we regularly offer to customers.


HCD @ CMS is the process we use use to understand the people for whom we are writing policies and creating programs and services. 

HCD is...

  • the process we use to understand the people for whom we are writing policies and creating programs and services
  • the application of systems and design thinking to identify the cross-functional policy, products, and services that define the customer experience, with the goal of improving this experience.
  • reframing problems and challenging business assumptions by observing and speaking to customers
  • a philosophy that you can effectively meet the needs and goals of your customers by balancing business viability, technical feasibility, and customer desirability

HCD is not...

  • just about a user interface (it's about the experience, which can encompass many digital and non-digital touch points)
  • just about technology (it's about the people)
  • the concern of only one person or group (its a collective responsibility)

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The HCD Center of Excellence is a team of dedicated individuals managed from a common central point, separate from the functional areas that it supports within a practice or organization. Because our community is made up of CCSQ employees and contractors, it is critical to have resources available to the community to aid with education and onboarding, ultimately to increase productivity.

The following resources are made available to educate, inform, and set up community stakeholders for success.

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The HCD blog provides thought leadership in the community by promoting events, sharing case studies, highlighting teams, and generally discussing topics that can benefit workers who are creating or improving products, programs, services, and policies in the community.

Enterprise Personas


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A Persona is a fictitious chcing a segment of real-world people impacted by your product, service or policy. It is based on information gathered via research, both qualitative and quantitative. A persona relays an individual’s needs and goals, defining the crux of who they are. The HCD CoE offers QualityNet (QNet) enterprise personas for teams to leverage so they can make informed decisions that impact their target customers. 



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HCD is a creative approach to problem solving via a repeatable process. Think of these methods as a guide for your HCD journey, ensuring you are putting people first when solving difficult business problems.

Recommended Reading


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What is the HCD CoE team reading? Get more information about the following resources:

  • Books
  • Articles
  • Useful Links



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View short videos to learn about the methods used at each phase of the Human-Centered Design process as well as an introduction to design thinking.