18 March 2011

User-led does not equal user-centered

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“Companies should lead their users, not the other way around.”

So say Jens Skibsted and Rasmus Hansen in their recent post, User-Led Innovation Can’t Create Breakthroughs, on Fast Company’s Co.Design blog.

“They’re exactly right, but for all the wrong reasons,” reacts Lawrence Kitson of ustwo in UX Magazine and this he says “highlights a wider problem of the misunderstanding of interaction design and the field of UX.”

“Being user-centered requires the involvement of experts who focus on the user as a person. Interaction designers listen and observe, and apply their knowledge about the behavior of people and their psychology, especially when they interact with digital products and services. Being user-centered means understanding a problem and the users, analyzing user behavior and listening to their wants, then translating this into needs that drive a creative solution to the problem. Being user-led or user-driven, on the other hand, means responding to user feedback without applying the filters of analysis and translation.”

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