May 17 - 6min readWhat is Holistic Design? A Guide to User-Centred DesignBy Launchbase

Holistic design is a way of thinking about user-centred design, and it’s related to different approaches which help achieve a desirable user experience. The term holistic design has been around for many years, but some confusion exists regarding its definition.

Some sources suggest that it is merely a variation of user-centric or human-centred design (also called HCD), while other sources claim that it is the same as the concept of total quality management (TQM).

Our goal here is to define holistic design in a meaningful and understandable fashion so that you can understand how this approach can be used most effectively in your own projects.

What is holistic design?

Holistic design is a design philosophy that places the user at the centre of the process. Holistic designers believe that all parts of a product or experience, from inception to use and disposal, should be considered together. This means looking at things like what materials are used, how they are made, who makes them, and how they get to their final destination.

Holistic design is often used synonymously with user-centred design (UCD), which includes a variety of principles that generally apply to people-centric design. For example, one principle might be ” to create an experience centred around people” or ” to design with respect for human-powered limitations.” The term holistic design can sometimes also refer specifically to UCD practices like heuristic evaluation (also known as usability testing).

Heuristic evaluation involves looking at specific tasks and then evaluating those tasks from the perspective of specific assistive technologies that help users do those tasks. Designers will often use this method when creating interfaces for computer programs or websites. In general, holistic designers take into account what it means to consider the human experience: how something affects someone emotionally, physically, or psychologically.

For example, in terms of designing an interface for a mobile app such as banking: A designer might consider customer behaviour patterns and then work backwards from there to make sure that customers have no trouble using the software effectively once downloaded onto their phones. This approach isn’t just helpful when thinking about new products; it also applies well when thinking about redesigning existing products based on feedback from users and customers.

The evolution of holistic design

Up until recently, the term “holistic design” was mainly used by furniture and interior designers to describe an artistic approach to layout and aesthetics. But thanks in part to its increasing popularity among start-ups, it’s starting to enter the design world’s lexicon as a more widely applicable concept.

Holistic design is a definition that has evolved over time but generally describes the process of designing with a well-rounded approach that takes into account information from every point of view related to a project or system. It can be called user-centred design when assessing how people interact with a system or data informed design when taking into account things like analytics.

Ultimately, holistic design is about creating pieces that aren’t just aesthetically pleasing for their own sake; it’s about making something that works well for everybody involved.

Why the rise of holistic design?

You’ve probably noticed the rise of holistic design in our society. It’s not an easy task for digital product designers to simultaneously embrace a range of disciplines like user experience, interaction design and visual design. Despite this challenge, it has become clear that holistic design is the way forward for creating digital products that are designed around the needs of users.

The rise of holistic design comes as no surprise when you consider how much the world has changed in just a few short years: we’re living in a time where the internet plays such a huge role in our lives that it’s impossible to imagine life without it. The fact that more people than ever before now have access to information and communication technology has been truly transformative.

App Developers UK
App Developers UK

The process and definition of user-centred design

What is user-centred design? Many people will use the terms ‘user’ and ‘user-centred’ interchangeably when talking about design, but there is a distinction to be made. The term ‘user’ refers to the person using a product or service, while user-centred means that the designer has considered the needs of their user during their process.

It could be argued that most designers consider users while they work, but user-centred design is deliberately working with a foundation of research and analysis. User-centred design takes into account how users will interact with a product or service as well as what motivates them to use it in the first place.

User-centred design helps ensure that each decision you make in your creative process will result in better designs for your audience. By paying attention not only to functionality and usability but also including human behaviour and psychological aspects in your planning phase, you can create experiences that are more likely to succeed.

You can avoid costly mistakes by ensuring that you aren’t merely considering technical features when making decisions about what needs to be built for your audience.

Holistic design in action

Holistic design is becoming more and more popular in today’s design culture. Design agencies and businesses are “thinking green” by incorporating the user into the process of design. Rather than a product or service, they focus on the consumer, which is most important when producing something new.

Holistic designers look at the whole picture: who will be using it? What exactly do they need? What do these people like? This process allows for a more enjoyable and useful product to be created.

Although holistic design is becoming increasingly common, there are still ways we can use it to make our lives easier. Examples of holistic, user-centred design can be found where you least expect them – from an app that makes laundry day as simple as possible to robotic vacuum cleaners that clean your home for you!

Benefits of using a holistic design approach

Holistic design is the process of designing a product or service with every detail in mind instead of just focusing on one aspect and hoping it works out. The idea is to take a step back and consider the whole picture, from the aesthetic to functionality to purpose, and this approach can lead to better products that are easier to use.

A holistic designer puts themselves into the user’s shoes and figures out what he or she needs. When everything works perfectly together, both users and companies benefit. Customers get a better experience and better products and see improved business results, including customer satisfaction. Although this sounds like common sense, it’s actually not easy for many businesses to apply holistic design principles thoughtfully because of how they’re set up.

Holistic designers need time from product designers and marketers when they’re creating something new (like an app), but there often isn’t enough budget for this type of research during development. However, there will always be room for user testing once a product is finished, unless there are strict deadlines, but by then, it may be too late for changes that would make all the difference.

Using a collaborative approach can ensure that your business has time for insights from all departments before projects go live. Involving people from each area early on gives you more time to make significant improvements if needed. This also prevents mistakes caused by miscommunication between departments as far along as possible in the process, so you know if something isn’t right before it goes out into the world.

Holistic design has many benefits, but it’s not without its difficulties

The web is a big place. There are millions of sites to visit and websites to create. The challenge for modern web designers is not to create more; it’s how to create better. Building a successful website relies on holistic design principles, ensuring that every aspect of the user experience works in tandem rather than independently.

Holistic design doesn’t just mean “a designer needs more information before beginning work,” although that is certainly true; it also refers to the continuous nature of good web design. While you might only think about a website once you see its launch live on a server, holistic design requires a mindset that remembers that failure means something small went wrong somewhere along the way and had it been large enough, it could have derailed your entire project.


So, what do we mean when we say “holistic?” It refers to an overall approach where everything matters, from the smallest aspects of typography to larger concerns like which content should get top billing or how users should navigate around your page. This bottom-up approach can take time but is necessary for success because it ensures higher quality and satisfaction for users by addressing issues before they arise.



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