Would like to know what differentiates consumer centered design from other design approaches eg. user centered design. What are the additional key elements that need to be addressed. Would be delighted to hear a comprehensive answer with an approach and methodology.

  • Do you mean cus_t_omer centered design? Your title and text reference "consumer centered design" without a "t." In the field of UX and IxD, I have not heard the term "consumer centered design." If you intended the latter, could you provide some links?
    – mawcsco
    Commented Nov 15, 2012 at 20:14
  • Yes, I guess both mean the same and are interchangeable terms.
    – amarnath01
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 7:05
  • 2
    I disagree. When you read the phrase "consumer satisfaction" you are likely reading about a group or demographic that spans across all businesses in a segment. When you read about "customer satisfaction" you are likely reading about all customers of a business, regardless of demographic. "Customer" is more narrow than "consumer." Think of "consumer" as "a citizen spending money" and a "customer" as "a person giving me money for my product." I think your question is about "customer-centered design" and you might get more answers if you rephrased your question.
    – mawcsco
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 14:52
  • if the user is the consumer, then I imagine it's one and the same.
    – DA01
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 17:01
  • @mawcsco based on that explanation, I think this is probably more of an english.sx question more than UX. ;)
    – DA01
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 17:02

4 Answers 4


You could think of Customer Centered Design as an inherited subset of User Centered Design. That means that you do not address only user in an anonymous way, but the user is also a customer. A more targeted user group always have the benefit that you can more fine grained find out the actual target, such as task completion, in this case finding things to buy, and subsequently buy them.

Customer Centered Design is really a Contextual Design of User Centered Design.

Reference: Wikipedia – User Centered Design, UCD models and approaches


Let me try and shed some light on this. Customer Centered Design is understanding the experience before and after the customer (user) engages with the product. User Centered Design is really about the experience in the moment of the product.

Hope that helps


Here are my thoughts...
customer centered Design would depend mostly on the requirements from the audience using the system and what the system is designed to do, and User Centered would rely mostly on the science and behaviors colors, layout and functionality....

  • Could you elaborate on this a bit. As it is its more of a comment than an answer.
    – Mayo
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 15:24
  • It would depend on the functionality, purpose of what your are designing to the system to do. (Functionality, scope, Purpose and Usability). Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 15:37

Design thinking in itself lends to the aspect of creating mental models that go into processing a design solution. You're question is one that begs to be answered as to why there isn't a wiki on consumer design. Should there be? Perhaps. User-experience and Customer-experience weren't part of the vocabulary years ago either.

There are several other methods of course, but you asked about the difference between consumer and user experience.

If you are in marketing or product design, you will be focusing more on the consumer experience than user-experience. You want to build a better mouse trap that draws in potential customers. That is what we are getting at, so this is a valid point of the OP (original poster).

Of course user-experience is about the user. Can a user be a customer or consumer? of course.. so this logic has to be that a consumer is a subset of the user-experience. But hold on, what if its referring to a car dealership or shop without an online presence... heh. Okay, but we're not talking about anything non-software for this argument, ok? :)

As for the customer experience (cx) : can it be interchangeable with consumer experience? Sure - some could argue that point is merely semantics. But when you drill down into other thought leaders, you may see that consumer experience is the ACT OR PROCESS OF PURCHASING, while customer experience defines as a person who has already bought something. I saw this intellectual battle rage with leadership teams at major corporations on this exact same war of semantics. The war continues...

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