There are many books talking about user centered design process. But sometimes, we first hava a new Technology and want to design a product to use that Technolgy. How does the Design Process in this case looks like?

  • 3
    Putting technology considerations in front of user considerations is a prime example of poor design process. What the user needs and how they accomplish their goals will guide the necessary technology, in addition to other requirements. But just picking a technology and designing for that "because it's new" will complicate the design process, if not derail it. Jan 5, 2016 at 2:38
  • Hi, thanks for your comments. When I think about the Iphone, if you use the normal user centered design, the first edition of Iphone might never come true. It have many shortcomings in terms of usebility. That is why I am asking.
    – gstar2002
    Jan 5, 2016 at 2:56
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    The first iPhone did have a lot of usability problems (still does). But you are misunderstanding the process. The user centered process was followed and the iPhone was the result - they didn't find an iPhone under the coach and then try to design for it. Jan 5, 2016 at 4:08
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    I think the reason user-centered design has so many books is that until the last few decades, technology-centered design was a prevalent way to do things…to people who are sitting on some kind of new/novel tech, it is very tempting to want to cash in on the innovative whatever-it-is by doing R&D until it seems sellable, and then marketing the crap out of it. However, another reason UCD has so many books and evangelists is that is considerably more efficient and successful to design things that way.
    – Nate Green
    Jan 6, 2016 at 18:32
  • I know it probably isn't satisfying to hear, but if you are going to make something people will use, then people are going to need to be central to your design efforts, not the technology. The opposite is like having a proverbial hammer…everything looks like a nail, but pounding those “nails” will yield varying degrees of failure.
    – Nate Green
    Jan 6, 2016 at 18:39

5 Answers 5


But sometimes, we first hava a new Technology and want to design a product to use that Technolgy

Because you want a product to use that technology rather than a human/ user to use that product, this design process is a classical Engineering design process.

There are some special methods like Six Sigmas DMADV or Lean product development. Sounds familiar? Yes, it came from production and assembly lines to software development.

In your comment you mentioned the iPhone development as a case against UCD. This is correct, because real innovation isnt coming from UCD. But there are several other software and design development methods which are covered in this post What other UX processes exist other than user centered design?


A simple analogy to this question is building of the Space X Dragon delivery model.

Space X started of with the model that delivers cargo to the shuttle and returns back to earth. While the subsequent models are built with a capability to shuttle human back and forth.

The approach, effort, risk, time and cost to build and deliver these two challenges are significantly different.

However, you might notice that in both cases there are a set of users!!

Hence, I believe there is always a set of users in any design challenge. And the approach depends on how the users reflect on the balance sheet of businesses.


I think it's the interaction between end-users/stakeholders and developers/designers/engineers/architects that decides the superiority of an application. Having said that, I agree with Vjay that there are always a set of "users" that play a vital role in deciding the success of a design hence the success of an application

  • Hi teamwork, I agree with both of you, that there always should be a group of users. I see the differece is, in tech driven design process, "the tech" is kind of invariant, we try to find the user or need. In user driven design, people first try to find "the group of user". The line is not very rigid, but we can see the difference.
    – gstar2002
    Jan 7, 2016 at 2:30

There are many books talking about user centered design process. But sometimes, we first hava a new Technology and want to design a product to use that Technolgy. How does the Design Process in this case looks like?

Liked your question, but I can only give an example from my own experience.

Few years back, one of our architects decided to use XYZ(intentionally hidden :)) after giving a demo on how cutting-edge this technology is.

Note that so far there was no discussion or even understanding of the requirements yet. Just that the technology stack was perceived as cutting-edge because some components were readily available and putting up a demo was simple. Focus was on what is readily available and not what is not available.

Ground reality turned out to be different and we kept on changing requirements based on our choice of technology rather than needs of the user/app. Obviously there were compromises and a lot of corners had to be cut. Most of the discussions were in the order of how to convince our buyers?, what is the workaround?, what is the next best thing etc.

So, your question was "How does that process look like?" Just read the last paragraph and remember this is how your work-environment will look like in 6 months time if your tech stack is chosen based on how cutting-edge it is rather than what user needs.


Classic example of the cart before the horse.

Technology is created to help an user solve a problem. You are stating that their is a new technology and because this new technology exists you/your company wants to make a product that uses it. This is not enough reason for a product to exist. First you must ask if this product is something the user wants/needs because they are the ones who will be paying for it. Talk to your customers, interview them. Understand their needs first and then build according to those findings.

  • this is actually the history of civilization. New technologies allows us to create new tools, products, services, even philosophy. Point in case: AI was created for very specific purposes. AI developments are possible because AI exists. Very few people will think on products that can't be done because the technology doesn't exist
    – Devin
    Sep 1, 2023 at 17:27

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