What other well known processes or approaches for creating an user experience (such as an app or website) exist except the user centered design approach and what are their strengths and weaknesses?

  • 3
    All UX tends to be user-centered by definition.
    – DA01
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 22:07
  • 1
    is this for a school project or something?
    – Sinclair
    Commented Jan 23, 2013 at 23:39
  • 2
    UCD is about the overall process. Methods are about activities you can perform during a process. Usability engineering can be viewed as another process type that focus more on "achieving goals" than "involve end users"... Usability testing, interviews, focus groups, surveys, persona, scenarios, wire-framing, heuristic evaluation, cognitive walk-trough, logging of support activity, A/B-testing, analysis of web metrics etc etc are methods you can carry out during the process. Regardless of which approach you use. Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 0:42

5 Answers 5


If you looking for different processes rather than methods, there are

Four of them did I examine for innovation capabilites in a past thread (UCD and innovation):

So, one could say UCD is more an engineer attitude - problem found, problem solved. And in an engineers' attitude, all decision are traceable back to a requirement.

And Design Thinking is a designers' attitude - problem seen, play around, solution found. The ideation phase isn't really traceable, so the solution is a bit arbitrary.

LeanUx is out of a startup-mind - solution proposed, solution tested, solution refined. The emphasis lies on a fast product launch and gradual advancements.

Finally, Data Driven Design comes from a marketing perspective - set up business goal, test refinements, take best measured. It is not aiming for innovation, but optimization.

  • 1
    Yes, I'm thinking about processes rather than individual methods. I edited the question. Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 14:52
  • is User Centered Design the same as Goal Directed Design?
    – K..
    Commented Jan 24, 2013 at 14:59
  • @K.. Haven't heard before, but yes, it seems like to have the same idea as UCD: building software around personas and there actual needs and goals. I will add it.
    – FrankL
    Commented Jan 26, 2013 at 8:08

Though I'm not sure this question fits in the rules of the FAQ...

Dan Saffer's "Designing for Interaction" lists 4 techniques:

  • User-Centered design
  • Systems design
  • Activity-centered design
  • Genius design

Each technique has its pros and cons. A quick search should give you descriptions of each term.


I'e always liked this overview of design decision styles by Jared Spool: http://www.uie.com/articles/five_design_decision_styles/

He lists: 1. unintended design 2. self design 3. genius design 4. activity-focussed design 5. user-focussed design

The last one is described as "This design style is the high-end approach and is necessary if the team is looking to create an excellent experience overall. To do that, the team will use user-focused techniques, such as field research and robust persona creation, ensuring the team understands the contextual nature of the users' experience." That, to me, is user-centered design.


The following are the different design methods:

  • User Centered Design

    Goal Directed Design

    Usability Engineering

    Design Thinking

    LeanUX / LeanStartup

    Data (or Metrics) Driven Design

    Open Innovation / Participatory Design

    Lead User Design / Design-driven Innovation

And yes! UCD and Goal directed design(UCD) are different. The reason for my deduction of considering the both designs as different is purely based on the fact the GDD is now evolving in a complete different direction. Also, There's no single opinion on this, as visible from the links. Please find the link here: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1621997 http://jonkarpoff.com/gdd-goal-driven-design/

  • I browsed your links and first is guarded and second outdated. Anyway, some Google research showed me no clear method of GDD. Old descriptions sound like UCD, newer more like a mixture of UXstrategy and UCD (business and user objectives) and others like Value Proposition Design. Do you have a link which shows the evolving direction clearly?
    – FrankL
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 19:49

There's also the Steve Jobs Approach:

Which is basically: If you want a big design breakthrough, don't ask people - just do it.


We figure out what we want. And I think we're pretty good at having the right discipline to think through whether a lot of other people are going to want it, too. That's what we get paid to do. "So you can't go out and ask people, you know, what the next big [thing.] There's a great quote by Henry Ford, right? He said, 'If I'd have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have told me "A faster horse." '

  • Great quote. However, HCD isn't just about asking people what they want and building it for them, it's about uncovering user needs—both the ones they're aware of and the ones they're not aware of—and building new solutions around those needs. Clearly Henry Ford's user testing went well, even if it happened in the market, not the design process.
    – Crowder
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 17:27
  • There isnt a Steve Jobs approach. They do user testing, they do ideation phases and they do design/ decide the composition. I guess it is a Design Thinking style, because Apple is known to have many Product Designers in house and is design driven. And Designers do Design Thinking by nature as the method-name shows. (Design Thinking isnt about asking people, it is about understanding people). Just do it .... and crash your company?
    – FrankL
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 19:58

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