Ideo states that human centred design (HCD) “sits at the intersection of empathy and creativity.” It is a design and management framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process.

Utilised in multiple fields, including sociological sciences and technology, HCD has been noted for its ability to consider human dignity, access, and ability roles when developing solutions. [Buchanan, R. (2001). This approach enhances effectiveness and efficiency, improves human well-being, user satisfaction, accessibility and sustainability;  ISO 9241-210:2010(E)


Creating scientifically sound methods to help improve humanitarian aid is very important, ensuring people use them with ease is just as important.

When we started with 510 we began with a data-driven approach, as we have evolved we have started to introduce HCD into the digital creation process.

Using a human-centered approach to design and development has substantial economic and social benefits for people affected, aid workers and inter-sectorial cooperation. Highly usable systems and products tend to be more successful both technically (feasibility) and (viability) intersectorally when users can understand and use products without additional assistance. Systems designed using HCD methods improve quality, for example, by:

  • Easy to understand and use, thus reducing training and support costs;
  • Increased productivity of users and the operational efficiency of organisations;
  • Increased usability for people with a wider range of capabilities and thus increasing accessibility;
  • Improved user experience reducing discomfort and stress;
  • Contribute towards scalability objectives


By integrating HCD we bring the three tracks of Desirability, Viability and Feasibility into 510’s products.

Desirability: The needs of people

Feasibility: The possibilities of technology

Viability: The requirements for success

The traditional five-step design thinking process; Empathize, Define, Ideate Prototype and Test, can be mapped against these three tracks. In order to create a successful project, we use the Strategyzer iterative process. We break this process in two week sprints to make the goals manageable.

Desirability, in Design Thinking known as Empathize: We empathise by co-designing with our users. We see this as the best way to understand the problem we are trying to solve. To ensure we don’t design from assumptions, we use quotes, insights and input from the co-design sessions. These insights are used as a base for a “Humanitarian Proposition”  and System requirements. We take these humanitarian propositions and ensure they are placed correctly into the “Humanitarian Canvas”, to ensure we always have the people at the centre of technological decisions.

Viability, in Design Thinking known as Define: As this is an iterative process, per pilot we have different “problems” to solve. We identify the problems that we can solve during the next pilot by using the insights collected in the co-design sessions, populating the “Humanitarian Environment map” and Humanitarian Canvas with the help of a PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, Technological).

Feasibility I, in Design Thinking known as Ideate: In order to build a prototype, we need to understand what is feasible and hold this against the identified user problems. We choose this iterative process because we will never be able to solve all problems identified at once, this way we can test every pilot and keep building as we move towards the actual product. By holding the already assumed software requirements next to the co-design data, we are able to brainstorm on possible solutions. Here we iterate between a general ad-lib, Humanitarian Canvas and Environment map and those contextual for the pilot.

Feasibility II, in Design Thinking known as Prototype: These possible solutions are turned into “XD wireframes MOCKUP” to sketch a rough version of possible touchpoints. These main re We then create activity diagrams that can be used as a base to create code for a working prototype. Product, in Design Thinking known as Testing: These prototypes are tested as pilots in various countries. As this is a test, we take the insights with us to the next iteration for the next pilot.


  • SEP 18: St.Maarten: Co-Design with people affected who received aid
  • SEP 18: St.Maarten: Co-Design with field workers who gave aid
  • OCT 18: Ukraine: Co-Design with people affected who received aid
  • OCT 18: Ukraine: Co-Design with field workers who gave aid
  • NOV 18: St.Maarten: Wireframe Testing with people affected who received aid
  • DEC 18:Ukraine: Prototype Testing with people affected who received aid
  • NOV 18 : Netherlands: Co-Design with people affected who received aid
  • MAR 19: Malawi: Co-Design with people affected who received aid
  • JUN 19: Ethiopia: Co-Design with people affected who received aid
  • MAR 19: 510 fbf Dashboard & APP Zambia Red Cross Aid Workers
  • 510 fbf Dashboard, More National Societies planned!

We started integrating HCD in September 2018 for 121 by Co designing with the Local St.Maarten Branch and their volunteers and people affected.


So far we have worked with St.Maarten Red Cross, Dorcas, Red Een Kind, Zambian Red Cross, The Netherlands Red Cross and it’s local branches.


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