8 Outstanding Examples of Human-Centered Design Every Business Needs to See

Before defining human-centered design and the human-centered design process in textbook style, let me create a picture in your mind.

LLet’sassume that your favorite streaming service decided to recommend documentaries about global warming and carbon footprints to raise awareness, so they changed the homepages of their customers completely. Would you like that?

Probably not.

Although the act has good intentions, it wouldn’t bear good results since it’s far from what your customer wants from you. If the customer enjoyed documentaries already, they would already have a home page full of documentary recommendations.

If you make sudden changes on someone’s “personalized” “lists to change their tastes,  they would also do something sudden such as switching to another streaming service.

My example is extreme, but there is a reason why many SaaS companies offer personalized content for their customers to keep them happy. But, of course, the same goes for their design as well.  

A human-centered approach is crucial when it comes to creating a well-designed product. Human-centric designs are focused on real people and human experience. Before I provide examples, let’s define the human-centered design process.

What is human-centered design?

what is human centered design

Human-centered design is a problem-solving method that requires you to put your consumer’s needs first when tackling an issue. To use human-centered design for your creative process, you must know your consumer deeply, empathize with a real problem they face, and come up with solutions they’d embrace. The human-centered design includes creating products to solve your consumer’s struggles and help them live better and easier lives.

That means that to create a human-centered design, you need to know your users very well. In order to do that, you need to have deep empathy for your customers, understand customer experience and adopt these abilities into a creative approach.

It would be best if you asked the right questions:

  • Which problems could your users face using your product? Your design solutions will offer a better customer experience and a more successful product.
  • Why do they need your product, and how can you maximize your product value to make their lives easier while using your product? A User-centered design will grant you a competitive advantage that will benefit your business. Design teams and product teams play a crucial role in success.

Before I show you some human-centered designs, I want to explain further why you should create human-centered designs.

Why do we use Human-Centered Design?

First of all, no matter what kind of product you offer, your goal should always be to create and offer the “best” “product and experience to your consumers.

But what do I mean by “best”? Well, it’s the hard part.

To figure out the best for your customers, you have to enter their minds and determine what they want and need. It’s a challenging task if I do say so myself.

TThat’swhy the results of human-centered designs are so fruitful.

Human-centered designs can attract customers, help you to boost your conversion rate, turn your customers into loyal customers and increase your revenue.

I’m not even counting the impact on your brand image and new customers that will come via your loyal customers’ recommendations or networks.

Overall, a good design has a crucial impact on your products and business performance. That’s why you should focus on improving your designs and making them more human-centered. 

To give you a more solid idea of what human-centered designs look like,  I prepared a list of human-centered designs from iconic products.

Let’s get started.

8 Examples of Human-Centered Design from Iconic Products

1- Samsung Free Style

samsung human centered design

While I was writing this blog post, Samsung came up with one of its most unexpected products, and I’m delighted because of the timing because this product is a great example of human-centered design.

Samsung FreeStyle is a Bluetooth projector; however, its qualities put it ahead of its competitors. However, before I talk about its qualities, I want to highlight that Samsung’s official website stated that FreeStyle targets Gen Z and millennials.

And this is important because as generations change, the consumers’ expectations and needs change. For example, if you ask someone from an older generation if they need a portable Bluetooth projector that can automatically adjust its screen to any surface at any angle up to 100 inches in size, they would probably say no. They wouldn’t even care about its audio capabilities or mood lightning.

However, this product is the perfect example of creating something that your consumers need, although they don’t know they need it. There are already hundreds of comments under the youtube video, and people are thriving.

With Samsung FreeStyle, people can watch movies on their ceiling, on their walls (no matter what color they are because the device can automatically adjust to color according to the wall), change the video, and screen the videos on their desks, listen to the music and so on.

The main idea is that although people have TVs or laptops, a tiny portable device to watch videos on any surface possible is a great solution. Especially so when we consider that people work from their homes and get an education online because of the pandemic

Also, don’t forget that although there is a screen mirroring option in mobile phones, unless people own two android products, they can’t connect their phone to their screens wirelessly. However, this is an alternative solution for people who usually don’t buy Samsung mobile phones, so it’s also a great move to catch the attention of the competition’s customers.

2- Spotify

spotify human centered design example

Remember, we used to pay $1.99 for just one song or search for our favorite album and wait in line to purchase it.

Whenever someone mentions human-centered design, II’llalways say Spotify. Spotify changed the way the music industry worked, changed the way we perceive and consume music. It was something everyone needed for years without even realizing it.

Nowadays, there are many streaming services, so even those services have become common. However, I want to highlight the latest Spotify update and how the brand finally added song lyrics to the application. 

The customers have been complaining about this for months, especially since Apple Music, SSpotify’sbiggest competition, had lyrics from the start. Spotify added lyrics and is still the best when it comes to personalized playlists, podcast recommendations, and its simple yet elegant UI.

Spotify succeeded by empathizing with their users’ struggle to pay for music from disparate sources and created a solution we could all embrace. Thanks to Spotify, users are able to get all their music in one place for one monthly fee. I’m willing to pay more for that kind of tailored, customized, helpful service.

3- Fitbit

fitbit human centered design

Remember when we used to estimate how many calories we burned in a day? Unfortunately, we didn’t have fitness trackers, so we had to depend on untrustworthy solutions to find the motivation to work out. 

I’m not particularly a fit person, but even I use a fitness tracker to count my steps.

It’s because fitness trackers are helpful.

If you have high cholesterol, you have to walk at least 10,000 steps every day. If you’re already an active person, you don’t have to count your steps to fill your quota, but sadly, that’s not the case for most people.

Because of the pandemic, we’re all trapped inside our houses, and we move less. That’s why fitness trackers became even more critical.

My example, Fitbit, definitely has a human-centered design. The designers of fitness trackers recognized people’s difficulties in tracking and maintaining exercise goals and devised a long-term solution. 

Take a look at the picture below. The device was created with the user (in this case Ashley) in mind, notifying her of her calorie burn and motivating her to exercise more. So whether it’s her steps or workouts, she can track all of them while improving her sleep schedule and diet. 

4- Venmo

Venmo human-centered design example

Another example of a product that solved a need before most people even noticed one is Venmo. I didn’t realize how inconvenient exchanging money was until Venmo came out with a solution.

Let me tell you the origin story of Venmo. The founders of Venmo, Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismail, only came up with the idea for Venmo after they had run into an issue. One day, Iqram forgot his wallet on their journey to New York City. Andrew paid for everything in exchange Iqram wrote him a check at the end of the vacation.

And they couldn’t help but wonder why they still had to use this method to exchange money. Why couldn’t they do something simple like this on their mobile phones?

Thus, Venmo was born.

Now more than 50 million users use Venmo to transfer their money. Crazy right?

5- Duolingo

duolingo human centered design example

If there is one language app everyone uses at some point in their lives, it would be Duolingo. With more than 120 million users worldwide, Duolingo is the most popular language-learning website/application. Currently teaching 19 languages, the application became a sensation with its cute little owl mascot and fun marketing strategies.

But how did it start?

 The founder of Duolingo stated in one interview:

“What I wanted to do was create a way to learn languages for free,” says von Ahn. “If you look at language learning in the world, there are 1.2 billion people learning a foreign language, and two-thirds of those people are learning English so they can get a better job and earn more. The problem is that they don’t have equity and most language courses cost a lot of money.” Turning an expensive process into an affordable experience for millions while considering their learning process is incredible. TThat’swhy Duolingo is so big now.

​​Its design is human-centered.

And if you have the app, you can notice that the app follows gamification rules, and it draws the people in. The UI of the app is very simple; you are only able to proceed further once you have finished a certain task or completed a test. When people complete and pass a test, it creates a sense of accomplishment.

So they get motivated to participate in more tests and learn more. The idea is so simple; it’s for people, completely.

6- Apple (Apple store)

apple store human-centered design example

Even if you don’t have any Apple products, you’ve probably visited the Apple store website at least once. If your answer is still no and you prefer shopping in shops, that’s fine. However, you’re missing out.

Apple Store has the best website design I’ve ever encountered in an e-commerce website. IIt’ssimple, clear, accessible all around, and the best part is that you can compare products side by side. 

If you don’t know where to start, you can get from a shopping specialist or compare all models. If you’re torn between two products, you can compare those two and conclude. All you have to do is decide to purchase.

7- Netflix

Netflix human-centered design example

Before we had Netflix, we had to rent movies or pay for cable to watch movies or shows. Now, you can watch thousands of shows, movies, documentaries, and cartoons for $8.99 a month.

However, the most user-friendly quality of Netflix is that it delivers more than what it promises. I have subscriptions to different streaming services, but Netflix is the one that the whole family prefers. You might ask why?

Well, the secret lies behind NNetflix’snon-complex User Interface and perfect algorithm to create personalized recommendations.

You can subscribe to Netflix for indie films and find yourself watching true crime documentaries. Netflix does this very smoothly. 

As you know, people get bored easily, and taking this into account, Netflix finds content for your taste and creates even more content according to your watch history. Netflix has been producing its own original shows and movies for years, and year by year, they work on more projects for their users. 

Their entertainment strategy depends purely on customers’ tastes and preferences. They support this with their algorithm-based recommendations, aka “you might like this” lists, simple user interface, and smooth user experience on their web, mobile phone, and TV applications.

For example, if you don’t remember the movie you saw on social media a few days ago but know one of the actors, you can search by the actor’s name and find the movie you’re looking for listed in the results. The same goes for the genre, language, the main audience of the movie or show.

8- Uber

Uber human-centered design example

When I first heard about Uber, I was skeptical. I was never a taxi person in the first place. As a person who walks short distances or uses public transportation, I didn’t think much about it.

However, since Uber became available in my country, I started using Uber, and it changed the rhythm of my life. If you live in a big city, you know that taxis are hard to catch and even if you call for a taxi, you have no idea how long it will take to come. Unless you have the number, you don’t have the ability to track where your taxi is.

Also, taxi drivers can refuse to take you if they don’t want to go to the place you want to go. Not to mention the fact that their prices can get really steep according to the route your driver decides to take; it’s impossible to know if the driver is going to the most efficient route or make your journey longer for additional charges.

Uber used empathy in its UX design to get rid of these issues for its users.

The platform gives you an estimated time of arrival when you confirm your order and updates you on the location of your driver throughout its journey to pick you up. While you’re in the vehicle, you can see the most efficient route on your app and make sure it’s being followed.

Also, you don’t have to pay cash since Uber accepts credit card payments. You don’t have to worry about additional costs because Uber states the price before ordering your car. This transparency is a result of the empathy the brand has.

Finally, Uber has a dual-rating system that allows drivers and riders to rate each other out of 5 stars on the app. You can view your driver’s profile when you order a car, and this also provides trust for the users.

With its super helpful customer support, if you’re unhappy with your car, you can get a different car or a refund, if you want. Uber is one of the best human-centered products on the market.


Frequently Asked Questions


How do you use the human-centered design?

To use human-centered design, you have to know your customer very well. Deep empathy with your customer will help you provide solutions for the problems they will face and affect your design process.


What are the three main factors that contribute to human-centered design?

The needs of human-centered design are empathy, creativity, and business needs. Deep empathy with creativity will help you develop a human-centered design; however, you should consider your business’ needs too.


What are the four activities in the human-centered design process?

First, specify your user and the use of your product. Then decide on the user requirements. CNext, come up with product design solutions, and finally, complete the design according to requirements.

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Selen M.A.Saleh

Selen is a former Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, a software that 7000+ companies trust in their user onboarding.

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