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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.

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)

HCD at CCSQ - the process we use to understand the people for whom we are writing policies and creating programs and services.

Design Process


    1. Initiate - Create a shared understanding of the problem that you’re trying to solve; Who, What, Where, Why and How.
    2. Immerse - Empathize by talking to and observing your customers.
    3. Synthesize - Gather available research/data/information to find themes, organizing into patterns and discovering insights.
    4. Ideate - Generate ideas without limits.
    5. Prototype - Reduce your ideas to those that are desirable, feasible and viable; and make as interactive as possible, so you can get feedback about the experience.
    6. Implement - You are not done. Continue to iterate, refine and enhance based on user feedback and metrics.

HCD Process Graphic

Learning Opportunities

Participatory DesignLearn about the steps and methods used at each phase of the Human-Centered Design process.

HCD Training Session The training workshop will introduce HCD and reinforce knowledge with activity-based group learning. (CCSQ Employees)

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