“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”

-Albert Einstein

We live in a world where design, technology, and humans must coexist peacefully. In recent years, the concept of Human-Centred Design has emerged to encourage designers to consider the user’s needs and experiences as the most important aspect of the design. Human-Centred Design is fundamentally about understanding and addressing the needs and desires of individuals. It’s rooted in empathy, user research, and usability testing.

Understanding the psychology, emotions, and motivations of the user has been leveraged by clever designers to create seamless experiences and innovative products. However, as they say, great power comes with great responsibility. Despite the popularity of Human-Centred Design, these tactics and strategies have not always been used for good. Enter. An evolution from the Human-Centred Design Humanity-Centred Design methodology, which challenges designers to broaden their thinking to consider the impacts of their designs on society and the world as a whole. It encompasses a broader perspective. Addressing not only the individual user’s needs and desires but also the societal, environmental, and global impacts. It begs the question, are you using design for good?

 

Principles of Humanity-Centred Design

In a world where technology is deeply woven into the fabric of our lives, the decisions made by designers and developers have far-reaching consequences. We’ve seen how products and services can inadvertently lead to privacy invasions, social inequalities, declining mental health, and environmental degradation. Humanity-Centred Design helps anticipate and mitigate these negative impacts by considering the broader ecosystem in which a product or service will exist.

The Need for Humanity-Centred Design

Empathy

It’s important to deeply understand and empathise with not only the individual users, but also the people and communities impacted by a product and its design. Designers should consider the needs, perspectives and emotions o all stakeholders to create solutions that genuinely serve the user while also respecting the impact on society.

Long-Term Impact

It’s important to think about the long-term impacts of our design decisions on society and the environment. Designers should aim to create solutions that are sustainable rather than contributing to short-term gains at the expense of long-term wellbeing.

Ethical Considerations

We must consider the ethical implications of our design decisions. Designers should actively evaluate the potential ethical implications of their creations, to ensure they don’t harm, exploit, or in infringe upon the rights of individuals and communities.

The Broader Ecosystem

Designs are not isolated entities, but are integrated into larger ecosystems. This principle encourages designers to address systemic issues, seek collaborative solutions and promote harmony within the context that their designs exist.

Designs are not isolated entities, but are integrated into larger ecosystems. This principle encourages designers to address systemic issues, seek collaborative solutions and promote harmony within the context that their designs exist.

Implementing Humanity-Centred Design

Conduct Comprehensive Research

Prior to commencing any design work, it’s important to delve into the societal and  environmental impacts of a product and its design. This includes user research, market  research, and research to understand the broader impacts.

Collaborate with a Diverse Team 

Collaboration between a diverse and multidisciplinary team fosters innovation,  highlights potential blind spots and helps to ensure that designs are inclusive and  considerate of different backgrounds.

Consider the Unintended Consequences

Designers must actively think about and anticipate potential negative impacts, striving  to create solutions that have a net positive impact. They must also implement  strategies to mitigate any potential harm.

Test and Iterate

It’s important to test the product or service with real users and iterate based on the  feedback received. This ensures that the final product aligns with the principles of  empathy, ethics, longevity and considers the broader ecosystem in which it exists.

Instead of asking “how might we? Start asking, “at what cost?”

In summary, Humanity-Centred Design is an approach that considers the broader  impacts of design decisions on society and the environment. It involves empathy,  ethical considerations, long-term impact considerations, and an understanding of the  broader ecosystem. 

 

By implementing Humanity-Centred Design principles, we can create products and  services that are not only usable and enjoyable for individual users but also have a positive impact on the broader community and the world. Want to chat more about Humanity-Centred Design? Let’s connect.