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Characterizing Competencies for Human-Centered Design

[+] Author Affiliations
Julia Kramer, Alice M. Agogino

University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Celeste Roschuni

University of Maryland, College Park, MDUniversity of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Paper No. DETC2016-60085, pp. V007T06A026; 12 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 7: 28th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, August 21–24, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5019-0
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Employees and employers alike increasingly value human-centered design, as it can drive innovation across a wide range of industries. With the growing interest in understanding human-centered design processes as they apply in different professions, there is a rising need to recognize the specific competencies necessary to perform these jobs well. Though there is a body of research on how people discover, create, and use design methods, there is a lack of understanding of what core competencies are necessary for people to apply these methods. Previous interactions with target users of theDesignExchange, an interactive community-driven portal to support design researchers and practitioners, have demonstrated a desire for increased awareness of the competencies required for employability and for successful design practice. This paper reports on a portion of an expansive competency-finding project aimed at identifying the core set of competencies that human-centered design practitioners need and employers seek.

In this paper, we present our lists of cultivated mindsets, specialized disciplinary skills, contextualized tasks, and basic skills in human-centered design. These lists represent a first pass at identifying the essential and underlying competencies a practicing or aspiring human-centered designer must have in order to perform their current or future design tasks. The work we present in this paper serves as a preliminary starting point for future research interviews with design practitioners and employers, as we seek to understand human-centered design competencies.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
Topics: Design , Competencies



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