Human-Centered Design in Digital Transformation

Smart technologies can only lead to smart outcomes if humans are involved in the design process: from defining the problem to the implementation of the final solution. In this blog, we discuss human-centered design thinking as an approach to developing automated processes and implementing smart technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

When designing an automation solution, all too often business may think in terms of ‘streamlining’ and ‘cost savings’. Organizations may rely on data as the main input for their digital change and often look for problems in a single system or process. However, automation is most successful when it involves multiple people, processes, and systems. The human element is especially important here.

Defining Human-Centered Design

Human-centered design or design-thinking is a methodology which involves the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process. The needs of the user and his psychological factors are considered, in order to increase the economic benefits and improve acceptance of the end user. An important element of human-centered design is that it does not start with the solution up front. The first step in the process is to discover the ‘why’ behind the issue.

The design process of human-centered design consists of a continuous flow of five phases:

  1. Empathizing with customers or users;
  2. Defining problems that need solving;
  3. Generating ideas to fix the problem;
  4. Prototyping to test and validate solution ideas;
  5. Continual testing.

The Importance of Human-Centered Design in Digital Transformation

Intelligent automation and technologies will never reach their full potential when merely used to cut costs and replace jobs. A digital transformation should ideally revolve around enhancing human abilities, overcoming human limitations, and fostering user acceptance. Here, it should not be forgotten that employees are also users and may interact with the software on the back-end. Human-centered design must consider all human impacted by the digital transformation, not just customers. Human-centered design is especially important when implementing machine learning or artificial intelligence. These technologies are essential in intelligent automation. Considering user needs and psychological factors can increase economic benefits and societal acceptability.

How Be Informed Considers the Human Element in Intelligent Automation

Our development process consists out of two phases. The first phase has three pillars: discover, define, and design. Here, all relevant business rules are captured in semantic models within the automation platform. This involves discovering a shared vision about the solution and its critical qualities, scope, and scale. Also, a prototype is created that is immediately executable. During this first phase of discovering, defining, and designing, we are in continuous dialogue with the employee and end user. That is why the first four phases of human-centered design (empathize, define, ideate, and prototype) fits well with the first phase of the Be Informed development process.

The second phase of the development process also consists of three pillars: detail, develop, and deliver. This phase involves iterative detailing and expanding of the application behavior, and the incorporation of the application in an organization’s enterprise architecture, and application landscape. Because this is an iterative process, there is enough room to continuously test and improve the application. Adjusting the software is not too complex. All these elements in the second phase of the Be Informed development process correspond well with the final testing phase of human-centered design.

Read more about our development process here

Overall, human-centered design adds the following properties to an automation solution built with Be Informed:

  • Intelligent automation solutions are tailor-made for your organization. This leads to an automated process which does not force users to work in a particular manner, but instead suits the process and organization perfectly. Besides, it should be flexible enough to deal with exceptions. Automation should not work against employees; it should cooperate with them. Thus, the complexity of the technology is reduced because the technology itself suits the human element.
  • Processes revolve around the knowledge of workers. This knowledge is embedded into the technology, and all stakeholders will be able to recognize their own business language.
  • Automation with Be Informed helps to eliminate unnecessary work, which ensures that employees have more time to add value to the process with their human touch. A hybrid digital workforce is created: humans working together seamlessly with technology such as RPA and AI, and enhancing the value of both.

Get in touch with us!

We explained how using human-centered design principles can help enhance digital transformation. Are you curious about a human-centered automation solution for your organization? Sign up for a free demo of our intelligent automation platform or get in touch with us. Stay tuned by signing up below or follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook to stay in the loop at all times.

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