People-centred design

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 narrative environment design is people-centred, rather than user-centred. Narrative environment design 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.


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

edited 7 February, 2017 by Allan Parsons