10 Famous Human Centered Design Examples

When you run a company, it is easy to get caught up by zeroing in on something like profits, technology, or ego. As such, many businesses follow a framework to guide their operations. Human centered design describes one of the most popular concepts that businesses use with great success.

Human centered design prioritizes the human being, also known as the user. This is a problem-solving approach used in design to see things from the human perspective, crafting solutions for the intended user. It is a highly effective approach that puts the customer first, leading to maximized satisfaction.

There are lots of human centered design examples to use as inspiration or explanation for those who may not know where to take their design thinking process next:

1. iPods

iPods is one of the best human centered design examples that will surely inspire you. From walkmans to MP3 players, none of these designs have the user-friendly functionality of an iPod. Apple has built its entire brand off user-friendly products, including the iPod which allows shuffling, skipping tracks, and so much control, not to mention the visual design that other music delivery products did not have at the time.

The way that iPods have progressed over time, including with wireless charging and wireless earbuds all harkens back to human centered design.

2. Venmo

Trying to exchange money online was a little more difficult than it needed to be for a lot of individuals. Venmo makes it way, way easier and more user-friendly. Their design makes it a possibility for money exchanges to happen with very little information and very few hoops to jump through. If a design can take something and make it a lot easier, this pays off in huge ways. Numerous apps have done this exact thing in different categories of work.

3. Spotify

Spotify made music available to everyone and anyone for very little. No more buying CDs or paying iTunes on a per-song basis. Spotify delivered music – all the music in the world – to a customer’s fingertips for next to nothing, ushering in the ultimate era of convenience in music consumption. They put the user first in crafting an interface and delivery method that outdid competitors. To this day, Spotify dominates this space and is a user’s go-to for music listening.

4. Fitbit

Fitbit is another great example of the doors technology can open. For people who tracked calories by pen and paper, they can now do so in an app. Wearable tech from Fitbit also overcomes several other challenges, counting steps, offering motivation and mindfulness, recording heart rate, tracking weight loss, and more.

Fitbit’s human centered design approach has meant investing in new tech and new designs, something which continues to build out products and services for the brand.

5. Push/Pull Doors

When we see a door that says ‘push’ with a door handle, we instinctively want to pull it. The opposite’s true as well with a door that was ‘pull’ with no door handle. It’s instinct. Human-centered design takes this conundrum and instead of giving both push/pull the same handle or no handle, ‘pull’ doors are given a handle and ‘push’ is not. This blends into the human instinct.

6. Heinz Ketchup

Fifty years ago, ketchup came in a glass bottle. Trying to get it out was unfortunately a ton of trouble. Today’s Heinz ketchup bottles are designed much differently. They are made of plastic which is easier to squeeze. Heinz ketchup bottles have also taken on an inverted design. It’s a totally user-friendly way to tackle the problem of how to get ketchup out of the bottle.

7. Kids’ Toothbrush

For kids, the thought of spending time every morning brushing their teeth is not fun. Holding an adult-sized toothbrush is also difficult. Holding an adult-sized anything can be uncomfortable for children. This is why so many things, including toothbrushes, are made children-sized. A kids’ toothbrush is a great way to see human-centered design that’s tailored to age.

8. Television Remotes

Just like how we adapt products to children, we do the same for seniors. The average TV remote comes with a ton of controls that few of us use or want. Certain remotes targeting seniors are purposefully designed with larger buttons and a simpler interface. To this point, there’s a lot to be said about simplicity and for any age group that applies.

9. Chip Canisters

A chip canister is used by brands like Pringles and Lays Stax to keep chips in pristine condition. Canisters though were first arrived at as a means of allowing people to eat chips neatly and cleanly while letting them close up the canister and keep the chips fresh in a way a bag can’t. That’s how canisters became so popular. Like the other design products on this list, the user was prioritized in its creation and the result was a total winner.

10. Meal Subscription Boxes

Meal subscription boxes have exploded in popularity due to the human centered design approach that was taken in creating them. They deliver healthy, affordable meals that solves problems like not knowing how to cook, not being able to afford the ingredients, and not understanding how to eat healthy on a specific budget. There was a need and brands like HelloFresh filled it in. To this day, their profits continue to rise and rise from new and existing customers.