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Why is Human Centered Design the Hottest Trend in Interior Design Right Now?

Posted by Thea Scott-Fundling on Mar 7, 2019, 9:22:00 AM

Why is Human Centered Design the Hottest Trend in Interior Design Right Now

In the world of interior design, focusing on the end user and the users' unique and specific needs are what frames our approach at Marymount University’s Interior Design graduate program.

We start with the consumer first and the context in which they need to live and work. This way, our students adopt a human centered perspective in their design process.

This focus is a shift from pure decorative aesthetics to social awareness with an emphasis on human needs and requirements.

Note: Are you interested in learning more about the field of interior design?  We invite you to check out our new resource: A Guide to Understanding the Field  of Interior Design.

Graduate students involved in the advanced interior design program at Marymount actively participate in research, applying human factors and appropriate ergonomics in the design of interior spaces. These MU graduate students immerse themselves in learning what people need in varied interior settings and then use these skills to produce creative solutions that are tailored to each unique situation.

This design process provides usable, beautiful, and socially sustainable interior design.

Human centered design employs Universal Design principles, which specifically address the needs of people in interior space. Special populations benefit from this design approach, and its purpose to provide maximum accessibility to meet the needs for the elderly, disabled, and children.

Human centered design is about developing empathy for the end user and ultimately wellness in the built environment. This awareness and approach to problem solving is changing the design industry at large where systems for human centered design are employed, and standards are beginning to be applied to provide usability scales and feedback in order to determine the success of a design solution.

Making User-Friendliness a Main Goal

Human centered design is about the people who actually inhabit the designed space. Interior design is often misunderstood as a discipline and is thought to favor flashiness over functionality, centering on the tastes of the designer rather than catering to the needs of the people who will live and work in that environment. Universal design focuses on making life easier for inhabitants with things such as lever door handles, zero-step entryways, non-slip pavement and floor finishes, glare-free lighting, and grab bars.

Note: Are you thinking about pursuing a career in interior design in the D.C. area? Here are four reasons why you should pursue an advanced degree in interior design right now — and here are seven more.

The goal is for design to be universal without a stigma associated with handicap-assisted design features. The purpose is to provide maximum convenience for people with unique physical needs, such as the elderly or disabled — and incorporating more of these features into the design of interior spaces provides for maximum safety and comfort.

Human centered design — as an approach to design thinking — gives designers a deeper understanding of designing living spaces that are more humanistic, holistic, and solve problems for people.  

In other words, designing for people is what it is all about.

In a way, the challenge of human centered design is even greater than a purely aesthetic approach, because designers must consider both the user’s needs, such as incorporating associated building codes along with the aesthetic appeal and user friendliness into their vision.

Blending beauty and user centered design to create a unified whole with minimal artistic and ergonomic sacrifices is the challenge.

Changing the Tone of the Conversation

By focusing on comfort and well-being as well as creating livable spaces for the elderly and the disabled, human centered design sends a message that the people themselves are of the utmost importance.

This message expresses warmth and caring for humanity by putting the focus entirely on the end user and their needs in interior spaces. It also creates a feedback loop between designer and client since the effectiveness of human centered design is determined by the ease of day-to-day life rather than through the impact of first impressions.

This communication brings designers closer to their clients — allowing them to work together to create the optimal living space. As human centered design is more recognized in good interior design practices, the conventional approach for designers to only accessorize interior space is going out the window.

Human centered design is about designing for people, generating creative ideas, and building new solutions. Marymount University offers a cutting-edge master's program in Interior Design that keeps up with industry trends and teaches its students how to adapt to a rapidly changing field.

In order to help aspiring interior design professionals understand the interior design industry, Marymount’s Admissions team put together a new, free resource: A Guide to Understanding the Field of Interior Design. We invite you to check it out!


Get the Guide

Posted by Thea Scott-Fundling

Thea Scott-Fundling teaches an expansive curriculum of graduate and undergraduate courses in Interior Design at Marymount University. She is a licensed architect in VA, a LEED Accredited Professional, holds NCARB and NCIDQ Certificates. She is also an active professional member of the American Institute of Architects and the Interior Design Educators Council. Thea has had multiple public exhibitions of her work including the VA Society of Architecture, the Initiative of the Public Arts in Reston, and Marymount University in Arlington VA.

Topics: Interior Design

About this blog

This blog is intended to help busy working professionals and recent college graduates to be informed about graduate school options. We explore various academic disciplines, professional development opportunities, and industry trends related to graduate education.

From what to look for in a graduate program to how to balance life, school and everywhere in between, we hope that our tips and advice will help you end up at the right school, in the right program, and at the right time.

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