Human Centered Design Resources and Methods To Help You Master HCD

Alexandra Nemeth

Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Storytelling at MovingWorlds

In the first post of our #LearnHCD series, we shared an introduction to the human-centered design process, its history, and how it can be applied to build sustainable solutions that make the world better. Once you’re familiar with the framework, it’s time to put what you’re learning into practice in real life!

Here is a list of our favorite tools and resources to guide you on your journey of learning and mastering human-centered design:

#1: IDEO Design Kit: The Human-Centered Design Toolkit

IDEO is a global design organization with a mission to improve the lives of poor and vulnerable communities through design. IDEO is credited with popularizing human-centered design for the social sector with its first-of-its-kind HCD Design Kit. The Design Kit includes books, guides, and free downloads to help you routinely innovate and solve big problems, including the must-read Field Guide to Human-Centered Design. Other handy resources include the business model canvas, template for journey mapping, and this IDEO course on prototyping.

#2: Innovating for People Handbook of Human-Centered Design Methods

LUMA believes any individual, team or organization has the potential to innovate, but may not know how. To fill that gap, it created the LUMA System of Innovation as an easy-to-learn, flexible, and scalable framework for practicing HCD to tackle problems of all sizes.

LUMA’s Innovating for People handbook is a compact reference book describing thirty-six methods of human-centered design, organized by way of three key design skills:

  1. Looking: Methods for observing human experience
  2. Understanding: Methods for analyzing challenges and opportunities
  3. Making: Methods for envisioning future possibilities

Luma also offers a go-anywhere Planning Cards toolbox to help you use HCD on the go.

#3: Stanford d.School Design Thinking Resources

Stanford’s d.School offers a curated collection of resources from its classes and workshops for you to explore. You’ll find activities, tools, and how-tos to help you get started with HCD, including the Creative Confidence Map, its set of Design Thinking Bootleg tools, and Virtual Crash Course in Design Thinking.

#4: Mozilla Open Innovation Toolkit

The Open Innovation Toolkit is a community-sourced set of best practices and principles to help you incorporate human-centered design into your product development process. Check out their Jobs to be Done  framework for customer motivations, Mind Map visual mapping tool, and Storyboarding method to build a sequential narrative of users interaction with your product.

#5: The Collective Action Toolkit

The Collective Action Toolkit from Frog Design is free, downloadable workbook for using human-centered design to affect change. Rather than providing a step-by-step list, the CAT reflects the dynamic nature of problem-solving with a 72-page non-linear booklet of activities, each of which ends with a return to the project’s core focus: helping users maintain clear goals and make change happen.

#6: Huddle Academy

Huddle Academy specializes in human-centered design education for established and emerging leaders. In addition to paid courses, they offer a number of free resources like icebreakers & energizers, tools for structured mindful reflection, and their How We Might (HWM) framework.

#7: Google Design Sprint Kit

The Design Sprint Kit is an open-source resource for design leaders, product owners, developers or anyone who is learning about or running Design Sprints. Whether you are new to Design Sprints and gaining buy in for your first Sprint, or an experienced Sprint facilitator looking for new methods, this site will help you learn, plan, and contribute to the Design Sprint Methodology.

#8: Human-Centered Design 101 Course on +Acumen

+Acumen teamed up with IDEO to develop this intensive, hands-on, free course to get you out of your chair and into the real world to talk to people and test your ideas. It’s recommended that you gather a team of 2-8 people to take this course and work through the materials and learning modules together, which you can do at your own pace. The goal of the course is to leave you equipped and energized to apply the human-centered design process to challenges across industries, sectors, and geographies to generate breakthrough ideas.

Do you know of other great human-centered design resources that should be included here? Submit a request to join this post!

To gain hands-on experience using human-centered design for social impact – while accelerating your own social good career in the process – apply to join our MovingWorlds Institute Global Fellowship.