Welcome to the intersection of technology and empathy - Human-Centered Design (HCD). It's the secret ingredient that can make your SaaS product not just good, but great.

HCD is more than a design approach; it's a philosophy that puts the user at the heart of the product.

Curious? Let's delve into the world of HCD: what it is, and why it's essential for your SaaS product.

Prepare to discover how empathy and user understanding can turn your product from merely functional to truly phenomenal. Ready to unlock the power of HCD? Let's begin.

What is Human-centered Design?

Human-centered design (HCD) is an innovative and user-focused approach to problem-solving and product development that places the needs, desires, and behaviors of individuals at the core of the design process.

It is a process for creating products, services, and experiences that focus on the needs of the people who will be using them. This approach puts users at the center of the design process, making sure that their needs are met in every aspect of the final product or service.

This type of design has its roots in the user-centered design approach that was popularized in the 1980s and 1990s. However, it goes beyond just making sure that products are usable. It also considers the emotional needs of users and how they will interact with a product or service on a personal level.

It is essential to create products and services that people will love. By putting users first, you can create something that they’ll find helpful and make their lives better in some way.

Decoding Human-centered Design

Now let's talk a little bit about what makes it tick - this design philosophy's core principles and features.

Take note that different designers have different philosophies and approaches. However, some core similarities and ideas are always present. We tried to gather them below.

Human-centered Design Process

The Four Key Principles

There are four key principles of this design philosophy:

  1. Empathy
  2. Collaboration,
  3. Iteration
  4. User Feedback

Empathy is about understanding the user’s needs and perspectives. It’s important to put yourself in their shoes and understand what they want to achieve. This can be done through research methods such as interviews, surveys, and user observation.

Collaboration is essential. Brainstorming with a team can help generate new ideas and different perspectives. It’s vital to have a diverse team with different skill sets so that you can explore all the possibilities.

Iteration is about trying out different solutions and refining them based on feedback. It’s essential to keep the user’s needs in mind and constantly test and refine your designs.

User feedback is critical as well. It’s important to get feedback from users throughout the design process to ensure you’re on the right track. This can be done through user testing, surveys, and interviews.

The Main Phases

Applying the above principles is a different matter. However, we can divide the procs into four different phases::

  1. Discovery: In this phase, designers research the problem they are trying to solve. They talk to potential users, observe them in their natural environment, and read existing research on the topic. This helps designers get a deep understanding of the problem they are trying to solve.
  2. Ideation: In this phase, designers generate ideas for solutions. They brainstorm alone or in groups, and use sketching and prototyping to explore different ideas.
  3. Testing: Then, designers test their solutions with potential users. They gather feedback and iterate on their designs based on what they learn.
  4. Implementation: Finally, designers work with developers to build the final solution. They also create plans for how the solution will be rolled out and used by people.

Human-centered Features and Design in Action

Human-centered design is a process that puts people at the center of the design process. It considers their needs, wants, and aspirations when designing products, services, or experiences.

Some examples of this design system in action include:

  • Designing for user needs: This involves understanding the needs of users and designing products, services, or experiences that meet their needs.
  • Co-design: It is about involving users in the design process to ensure that the final product, service, or experience meets their needs and is user-friendly.
  • Design thinking: This is a problem-solving approach that involves empathizing with users, defining the problem, generating ideas, prototyping solutions, and testing them with users.
  • User experience (UX) design: This is the process of designing products, services or experiences that are easy to use and enjoyable for users.
  • Service design: This is the process of designing end-to-end user journeys to ensure that all touchpoints are user-friendly and provide a great experience.

Why Does Human-centered Design Matter?

Human Centered Design Benefits

People don't seem to realize just how beneficial this type of design philosophy is. It has tangible, direct influence over your bottom line.

Below is a list of advantages it gives you and why it matters for any product development, be it B2B, SaaS, or just a simple app for the general public.

1. Increased Efficiency

It helps to streamline the software development process by making it more user-friendly. By focusing on the needs of the user, the design can be tailored to meet their specific requirements, resulting in a more efficient and effective final product.

2. Increased User Satisfaction

When a software development project is designed with the user in mind, it is more likely to result in a final product that is satisfying and easy to use. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty and improved business results.

In other words - make your users happy, and they'll come back.

3. Reduced Development Costs

There are a few ways that human-centered design can help to reduce development costs. One is making sure that designs are user-friendly and easy to use, minimizing the need for costly revisions and updates. Additionally, it helps to ensure that projects are well planned and organized, which can lead to fewer errors and unforeseen problems down the line. Finally, involving users in the design process from the beginning, it can help to create buy-in and ownership for a project, which can save on marketing and training costs later on.

4. Increased Speed to Market

It assists the software development process, resulting in a quicker time to market for new products and features. This can give businesses a competitive advantage and allow them to capitalize on new opportunities more quickly.

5. Boosts Sales and Profit Margin

If you build a SaaS product following the principles of human-centered design, then the end users are more likely to buy the product/service that meets their needs.

And finally, let's finish off with some real, practical examples of this design philosophy in the real world. 


IDEO is a global design and innovation company that pioneered human-centered design by applying it to a tech product. They created a Lisa Mouse for Apple using principles of human-centered design.

All the previous prototypes of Lisa Mouse were too big, complex, and expensive to manufacture. So they created a portable mouse that fits into the hand and is easy to use.

2. iPhone

The iPhone is one of the most popular and well-known examples of human-centered design. Apple has designed the iPhone to be as user-friendly and intuitive as possible, with features that appeal to user needs.

3. Google Maps

Google Maps is a perfect example of how this design philosophy can make a complex task much easier for users. The app was designed with the user’s needs in mind, such as providing step-by-step directions and an easy-to-use interface.


IKEA is a company that’s known for its affordable and practical home furnishings. Their products are designed to be easy to assemble and use, making them an excellent option for those who want to save time and money.

5. Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo is another example of a product that was designed with the user in mind. The Echo was created to make it easier for users to control their smart home devices and access information hands-free.

6. Fitbit

Fitbit is a company that designs fitness trackers and other wearable devices with the aim of helping users live a healthier lifestyle. Their products are designed to be as user-friendly and convenient as possible, with features that motivate users to reach their fitness goals.

Do note that this is not just for technology companies; it can be used in any industry to create better products and services. For example, the airline Virgin America has used its principles to create a better flying experience for its passengers. And the hotel chain Marriott has used them to create more efficient and effective hotel rooms.

I it can also be used in business-to-business (B2B) products and services. For example, Salesforce’s CRM suite is designed to be easy to use and helps companies keep track of their customer data.

All of these examples show how this design philosophy can make products, services, and experiences more enjoyable and efficient for users. When you consider the needs of your users, you’re more likely to create something they’ll love.

Create Stunning Human-Centered Design with Imaginovation

Good intuitive UI and UX can help create a meaningful product that helps millions of users. Talk to us if you need help building some stunning UI/UX designs for your SaaS products.

Imaginovation is an award-winning web and mobile app development company with vast experience crafting remarkable digital success stories for diverse companies. Let's talk.


Pete Peranzo

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