People-centred design

RELATED TERMS: Co-design; User-centred design; User-driven design; Design practice and functionalism

People-centred design is focused upon human needs and aspirations at a broader and deeper level than that of designing for people as users. A people-centred approach can open out new, previously unimagined opportunities for product and service development. (Koskinen and Thomson, 2012: 78)

A strong argument can be made that, in some respects, the design of narrative environments is people-centred, rather than user-centred. The design of narrative environments looks for opportunities beyond the horizon of product development, although it may overlap in certain respects with service development.

Narrative environment design, however, would challenge the assumptions that ‘the human’ is a universal domain of abstract rationality or common identity. The human, rather, is dispersed across the subjective, the objective, the narrative and the environmental; across .


Koskinen, T. and Thomson, M. (2012). Design for Growth & Prosperity. Brussels: European Commission. Available from [Accessed 10 October 2014].