3 Phases to Working with Users to Develop Better Solutions

The aim of satisfying users is at the heart of every organisation’s effort when creating a new product, modifying an existing one or delivering on its service promise. While this is true, it has increasingly become imperative to start with the people and working the process through to developing a solution, which may be modified or refined at some point in the process. This approach has been referred to as Human-Centered Design.

Human-Centered Design (HCD) is a creative way to problem solving. In using HCD, there are three phases before achieving what we call “user satisfaction peak”.

They are:

  1. Inspiration.
  2. Ideation.
  3. Implementation.


At the beginning of the inspiration phase, you already know the industry or sector you want to create a solution for. For example, you may want to build a special school for children with autism.

Unlike conventional methods of working from the inside out, HCD approach promotes a user-focused initiation. It works by combining a number of methods such as observation, learning from, and immersing yourself in the lives and experiences of those you are designing for. Take for instance when designing a new school for children with autism, it is advisable to gather insights from children (including observing autistic children), parents, paediatricians, teachers and psychologists’ experiences.


By the time you get to the ideation phase, a lot of research would have been done on the end-user. Here, you will be trying to make sense of all you learnt. Still using the example given above, you may end up realising that building learning structures is not enough; other issues such as lack of awareness and stigma could be a hindrance at their success in school.

Essentially, the ideation stage is all about turning your research into insights that will lead to solutions and opportunities for change as well as prototyping them. Here, you will test, iterate and refine them. While testing those prototypes, you will gather feedback from those you are designing for. Without these, you would not know if your solution is right or not, and how to evolve your design.

Use the information gotten to fuel changes to your solution. With every iteration, you will learn something new, you may discover unforeseen challenges and solutions to them; this can be in the interaction between students and teachers, or the validation of an awareness and diagnosis platform. Iterate until your solution is ready to be used.


At this stage, the best ideas are turned into full-conceived actions.

As long as you follow a Human-Centered Design approach, you will create products or services that your customers will love and embrace. Through this process, a communication strategy that accompanies your solution should also be conceived.

We are a design team passionate about the use of HCD and creative strategy in problem solving. If you think there’s an opportunity to collaborate with us, contact us at hello@thecreativeturf.com