User Centered Design (user-oriented design) is a concept from software development, which puts the user of a software that hasn’t yet been developed into the focus of attention. Prior to the development of the software, the user's needs, wishes, intentions and any limitations are taken into account in the development process.
Today, user-centered design is one of the most important paradigms in software development. The user-oriented design is used in a wide variety of software and applications. These applications should not only comply with international standards, but also ensure that an application is ergonomic in the best case.
Software ergonomics is about adapting an application to the needs of the end user, anticipating and satisfying the users’ needs. User Centered Design is one way to achieve this goal. The background for the User Centered Design and related paradigms is provided by the international standard EN ISO 9241, which is a standard of Human Computer Interaction. Important aspects directly related to the concept of User Centered Design include usability, user experience, accessibility and of course the users themselves.
The User Centered Design is divided into four phases, which represent basic processes in the development of software and applications. These phases are usually preceded by a project planning phase in order to guarantee a high degree of user orientation.
All phases can occur several times in the development process. A good user-centered design is characterised by the fact that it anticipates all the user's needs and includes corresponding program sequences and exceptions as a finished product. For this reason, multivariate tests, AB-Testing or crowd sourcing tests can also be added to the final phase. The anticipation of possible errors has financial aspects, because the later errors are found in the software, the more expensive it becomes to eliminate them.
The parallels to search engine optimization clearly refer to usability, whereby the user-centered design as a development process precedes usability. Nevertheless, software - and also a website - must be judged by whether and to what extent it satisfies the user's needs and, if necessary, anticipates them.
This can be found out with usability tests. A website that has been developed with the help of the User Centered Design concept has a good chance of combining the highest possible usability with other important factors and key figures from search engine optimization, for example a high conversion rate and other KPIs. In addition, Google focuses on the user, and measures the success of a website in terms of whether they serve the needs of the users in a certain way.