Business started as people working with others in a fashion that would benefit the consumers of certain products or services. Recent trends have consumers adapting to the ways of companies. This trend has the end users now looking for products or services that are more relatable to themselves. Whether it is documents being shared between co-workers or products like Apple, businesses are creating a competitive advantage for themselves through utilization of User-Center Designs.
What is User-Center Design or UCD?
UCD varies in form. It can be anything that is transferred from one individual to another. From documents and sentence structure within those documents to the user experience of websites UCD can be applied everywhere. Usability First, a website dedicated to providing information about usability within software and websites, says, “Employing UCD to a system design offers a more efficient, satisfying, and user-friendly experience for the user, which is likely to increase sales and customer loyalty.” This shows that UCD can be a powerful way for businesses or individuals to get a leg up on their competition. This design process helps individuals communicate in a much more efficient manner as well. As millennials, we must be able to communicate our thought process for other generations in order to successfully work in the current business world. Utilizing UCD throughout our own lives will vastly improve our chances of escaping the stigmas surrounding our generation.
How do we incorporate UCD in our work?
Millennials have their work cut out for them with the current business world struggling to keep pace with the ever growing employee pool. Using ones rhetorical awareness along with user-centered design allows for employees or perspective employees to be very persuasive while still getting their point across with more showmanship. “For workplace writing, individuals must take into account the rhetorical situation”, says Purdue Owl’s Allen Brizee. Before any writing takes place you must realize four different factors. The purpose of the document, the audience that will be presented with your work, who will be affected by your writing, and the background in which the document is being created for. Individuals are now believing that documents are, often times, not in isolation from the rest of the business process. Taking into account the rhetorical situation will open the eyes of authors around the business. A beneficial trait that millennials possess is the ability to live outside the current mold. This helps when taking into account the situation behind the documents being written because we are able to realize that no two situations are the same. Once the rhetorical situation has been taken into account you can produce a document with the end user solely in mind. This will produce a final document that is personalized and relatable by the intended audience. The authors goal is to create a document that produces a high level of usability. Similarly to rhetorical awareness UCD also has objectives to realize. Jeffery Rubin depicts these objectives as, “Usefulness, Effectiveness (ease of use), Learnability, and Attitude (likability).” All of these goals are important so that the user is empowered by the document and will easily be able to succeed at achieving their end goals.
There are countless benefits to using User-Center Design within workplace writing. A quote from the European Information Development Conference in 2003 sums up the process best, “(UCD) is the development of documentation which is easy and pleasant for people to use. An UCD approach enhanced the user experience.” Incorporating UCD allows for individuals to develop themselves through the transfer of information and this leads to a much higher reputation for the author. Using UCD in business documents changes the power from the author to the users making for a more effective and beneficial learning process.