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user-centered design (UCD)

User-centered design (UCD) is a design philosophy where the end-user’s needs, wants and limitations are a focus at all stages within the design process and development lifecycle. Products developed using the UCD methodology are optimized for end-users and emphasis is placed on how the end-users need or want to use a product instead of forcing the end user to change his behavior to use the product.

User-centered design is a common process in software development where typical UCD activities are broken down into four phases in the development lifecycle:  analysis, design, implementation and deployment.

The international standard ISO 13407: Human-centered design process provides the basis for UCD. This standard defines a process throughout a development lifecycle, but does not specify exact methods used for user-centered design.

User-centered design may also be called usability engineering.

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