Humanistic design should…
I. Be informed by human contexts.
Good design always starts with people. This is achieved through deep immersion into various human contexts like culture, business, technology, and the web of systems that underpin our world. Embracing people as complex, contradictory beings builds empathy, furnishes unique and diverse perspectives, and illuminates the underlying meanings behind behaviors.
II. Fulfill real human needs & values.
People are more than abstract personas or segments, each with their own unique needs and values that vary depending on context. To find the right problems to solve, the challenges and opportunities that real people encounter in their daily lives must be carefully understood. Learning people’s true wants, needs, and values will uncover Product-Human Fit on the path to Product-Market Fit.
III. Leverage how people think and feel.
If you want to know what someone really thinks or feels, one of the worst things you can do is ask them. Finding guidance from the social sciences and other related fields can provide deeper explanations towards the nature of human cognition and emotion. A nuanced understanding of these motivations and attitudes is core to creating experiences for the right mindsets.
IV. Leverage how people communicate and perceive.
Often times, people say one thing and mean another. Decoding these dynamics requires insight from disparate fields like semiotics, anthropology, and cognitive science. The mechanics behind human communication and perception are key to arriving at solutions that are clear, relevant, and stand out in a noisy world.
V. Leverage how people act individually or in groups.
There are numerous internal and external forces that influence human behavior. Social anthropology, psychology, and behavioural economics can provide insight into how these forces drive individuals & groups. Untangling these complex dynamics and relationships allows for solutions that are mindful of how they might affect people's actions - and vice versa.
VI. Enhance human ability and address its limitations.
Humans are good at some things and bad at others. To account for this, it's wise to reference the fields of ergonomics and cognitive psychology to uncover the unique boundaries of human capability. This allows for solutions that are inclusive, accessible, and augment our abilities to be better while mitigating our shortcomings.
VII. Be good for humans and the environment.
We live in a complex world, where decisions can have unintended downstream effects on people and the ecosystems they inhabit. Designed solutions should always consider the wider systems were a part of, and never harm humans or the world around us - either on purpose or by accident.