Key Principles of Human-Centered Design

Vladislav Gavriluk

Vladislav Gavriluk

CEO & Founder at Arounda

By incorporating HCD, human-centered design principles, companies minimize risks in the ideation phase and ensure that people are the focal point of the process. 

A design that doesn't focus on humans can hinder even the best idea or mission. Products and services that don't meet user needs are unlikely to succeed. Therefore, HCD is essential for companies that want to resonate with their target audience truly.

We have already posted an article with human-centered design examples. In this article, our experts outline the main principles to help achieve such results. 

Table of Contents

What is Human-Centered Design?

Human-Centered Design (HCD) is an iterative design process that focuses on understanding the people using a product or service. It involves observing, engaging, and empathizing to gain insight into customers' needs and pain points. 

HCD is often used in product design, software development, and service to create effective, user-friendly solutions.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Human-Centered Design

Below are a few benefits and drawbacks associated with HCD.


1. By considering people's needs, including those with disabilities or other challenges, human-centered design results in more accessible and inclusive products.

2. Creating services with a human-centric approach increases the probability of their adoption and usage, ultimately leading to higher success rates. 

3. Involving customers in the design helps identify and resolve potential issues and errors before releasing the product. It reduces the risk of failure. 

4. HCD encourages experimentation and iteration, leading to innovative solutions for complex problems. It also aligns well with modern technology and practices, such as AI. The cloud and agile methodology allow for rapid prototyping.


1. Human-centered design can be time-consuming, requiring extensive research, testing, and iteration. Similarly, it can be expensive, especially for smaller organizations with limited resources.

2. HCD can sometimes result in solutions that focus on meeting existing needs. It can potentially limit opportunities for creativity.

The advantages of human-centered design outweigh its disadvantages. Therefore, it is worth trying to implement its principles, which partially overlap with the main points of accessible design.

Both approaches emphasize the importance of considering the needs and abilities of diverse users. By implementing the principles of HCD, designers can also create products that are more accessible and inclusive, benefiting a more comprehensive range of users.


Take the first step towards creating HCD products by contacting our team!Let`s have a talk.

Key Principles of Human-Centered Design

To take full of human-centered design benefits, companies need to keep in mind the following fundamental principles.

Understand and address the core problems

To identify the underlying issues, it is worth conducting in-depth research and observing real-world practice rather than just focusing on surface symptoms.

When you find a user pain point, ask, "Why did it happen?" multiple times. This way, you can find out the root cause of the problem. Underlying issues include a lack of understanding of the system's complexity, incorrect resource allocation, interaction patterns, or disruptions in the work environment.

Be people-centered

It prioritizes meeting the needs of people over technological capabilities. This approach recognizes that technology should serve people rather than the other way around. 

Designers who adopt a human-centered approach recognize that people's history, culture, beliefs, and environment are essential factors that influence their behavior and preferences. It helps to create products and services that are culturally appropriate and respectful. 

Use an activity-centered systems approach

It means that all physical, social, or technological things interconnect. Every system has various components and elements that work together to achieve a specific goal or function.

By understanding how these components interact, designers and developers can create more effective and efficient strategies. This approach involves considering the broader system and its impact on various stakeholders rather than just focusing on individual components in isolation.

Use rapid iterations of prototyping and testing

Implementing HCD involves generating unique ideas and testing them. However, it's rare for an idea to be perfect from the start. It takes time and effort to make them better. Be patient and persistent, trying different approaches, rethinking them, and repeating the process until you get an excellent outcome.

It's vital to get quick feedback and make improvements along the way. Each iteration and test should aim to make the prototype more user-friendly.

Challenges of Implementing Human-Centered Design

The benefits of human-centered design encourage more companies to use this approach. However, its implementation has several difficulties, which are better to know about in advance. Some of them include the following:

Resistance to Change

Adopting an HCD approach requires a cultural shift within an organization. Some stakeholders may resist change and miss the value of involving end-users in the design process. It can lead to a lack of buy-in and support, undermining the success.

Limited Understanding of User Needs 

Designers must deeply understand their target audience to design solutions that meet user needs effectively. However, gaining this information can be difficult, mainly if the user group is diverse or hard to reach. 

Designing for the Average User 

The previous point leads to this one. 

If you haven't done enough in-depth audience research and have created a portrait of the average user, then using HCD can be risky.

The average customer is often seen as a generalized representation of users that does not cover their diverse needs and experiences. It can result in solutions that work well for some users but fail to meet the needs of others.

Time Constraints 

The HCD process can be time-consuming, and some organizations may need more time to implement the approach fully. It can result in limited user research or testing, which can compromise the effectiveness of the final solution.

Put in Place Human-Centered Design With Arounda

Human-centered design and development are valuable for businesses looking to improve customer acquisition and retention. Following the four principles above, companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors and stand out in crowded markets. 

Arounda has a wealth of experience in HCD. Over the years, we have worked with diverse clients, including startups, small businesses, and medium-sized enterprises.

If you want to adopt human-centered design principles for your products, our team is here to help

Vladislav Gavriluk
Vladislav Gavriluk
CEO & Founder at Arounda
I make sure our clients get the high-quality result from the beginning stage of the idea discovery & strategy to the final digital product.

Frequently asked questions

  • What are the principles of human-centered design?

    The human-centered design principles involve putting the needs and experiences of people at the forefront of the design process. They include collaboration, empathy, iteration, and a focus on the user experience.

  • What are the steps in human-centered design and development?

    The first step is understanding the customers by gathering information about their pains. The second step is to define the problem and user needs based on the insights gathered in the previous stage. The next point is to generate possible solutions by brainstorming and selecting the best ones. Finally, the chosen solution building and tested with users to achieve a final design that meets the customer's needs.

  • Why is human-centered design important for creating successful products?

    HCD reduces the risk of market failure for products or services by ensuring that the design process considers and meets the end user's needs. By prioritizing the user experience, companies can develop products that connect with their intended audience, increasing engagement and adoption rates.

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