Cumulative and Combined: Analyzing Methods Use in a Human-Centered Design Mature Company

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Human-centered design (HCD) has developed an impressive number of methods for gaining a better understanding of the users throughout the design process. The dominant orientation in HCD research has been to develop and validate individual methods. However, there has been growing amount of criticism towards this dominant orientation, as companies and designers seldom design services or products as entirely separate projects, let alone use single methods for doing so.

Our longitudinal case study that is based on interviews, meeting observations, and company documentation was conducted at a high HCD-mature company. The study shows that instead of conducting new user research or testing for each project, designers draw information from previous studies and other user insight sources in the company. HCD work is mostly accomplished through a combination of methods and other information sources on the users. The cumulation of user knowledge gained during the past projects and employment years is notably high among designers, product managers, projects, and in the company as a whole. In addition, knowledge based on user research and HCD methods does not replace other sources such as customer insight from marketing but, rather, complements these. The chosen approach of studying method mixes in an organization provided useful insights into understanding the user information sources in an organization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-123
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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