Human-centered design allows us to create and deliver solutions based on people’s needs.

Human-Centered Design

Human-centered design is a process that has been used for decades to create new solutions to design challenges. The process helps people hear the needs of the people and communities they’re designing for, create innovative approaches to meet these needs, and deliver solutions that work in specific cultural and economic contexts. Centered in optimism and embracing constraints and complexity, the HCD process helps users ask the right questions. Ultimately, it can increase the speed and effectiveness of implementing solutions that have an impact on the lives of the people these solutions were designed for.


The Human-Centered Design Toolkit was designed specifically for people, nonprofits, and social enterprises that work with low-income communities throughout the world. The HCD Toolkit walks users through the human-centered design process and supports them in activities such as building observation and empathy skills, prototyping, leading workshops, and implementing ideas. The HCD Connect platform represents the evolution of the HCD Toolkit. People using the HCD Toolkit or human-centered design in the social sector now have a place to share their experiences, ask questions, and connect with others working in similar areas or on similar challenges.

The HCD Toolkit will guide you through the three phases of the HCD process:


Determine who to talk to, how to gather stories, and how to document your observations.


Generate opportunities and solutions that are applicable to the whole community.


Take your top solutions, make them better, and move them toward implementation.

The Arc

The Arc

The HCD Toolkit provides methods to take you from one step to the next in each phase of your project. In the process, your team will move from concrete observations about people and their needs and desires, to abstract thinking as you uncover insights and themes, then back to the concrete with tangible solutions.

The Three Lenses

Human-Centered Design begins with the people you’re designing for — their needs, behaviors and desires. You’ll look at the world through this “Desirability” lens for the duration of your project. Once you know what’s desirable, you’ll begin to view your solutions through the lenses of “Feasibility” and “Viability.”

The Three Lenses

The solutions that emerge at the conclusion of your Human-Centered Design project should hit the overlap of these three lenses: solutions that are desirable, feasible and viable.

Want more?

You can learn more about the HCD methods right here on HCD Connect. And the entire HCD Toolkit is available to anyone as a free download. You can also purchase a bound copy of the HCD Toolkit at

Buy the HCD Toolkit Free HCD Toolkit Download