What is human centered design?
Human centered design (HCD) is a methodology that breaks down the messy process of creating something–anything from a specific product to a complex organizational change–into a series of easy-to-follow steps. In particular, the human centered design methodology focuses on ensuring that the end users of whatever is being created are involved in the process of creating it. Different practitioners of human centered design call these steps in the creative process by different names, but they generally follow a path that begins with identifying the problem and ends with implementing solutions. The steps in the HCD process can be iterated and repeated until the desired outcome is achieved.
The Curb Cut Approach to HCD
At Curb Cut Design Studio, we practice HCD with an equity lens–meaning that we use the human centered design process to redistribute concentrated power.
Our founder developed our equity-based approach to human centered design with guidance from their many teachers, including the Maryland Institute College of Art Center for Social Design in Baltimore, Antionette Carroll of the Creative Reaction Lab in St. Louis and creator of the Equity-Centered Community Design framework, George Aye of the Greater Good Studio in Chicago, Tania Anaissie of Beytna Design, Jessica Mason of The Social Impact Studio, IDEO.org, Bobbie Hill of Concordia in New Orleans, the Design Justice Network, their training in harm reduction from HIPS, their decade of experiences as a social impact designer and community activist, and the political education they’ve learned from Ella Baker, Grace Lee Boggs, adrienne maree brown, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, bell hooks, and the Racial Equity Institute.