User Centered VS Customer Centered

Customer VS User

One of the biggest challenges for a UX designer is to design a product that meets the client’s Business goals, while maintaining a User Centered approche. At this point, many designers face a problem in reconciling and maintaining a balance between the requirements of the end-user and the customer.
The customer often asks for a UX and features that may not suit the end-user because of his commercial purposes and business needs. So how could the end-user needs and business needs be different, and how to bring a balance to our design process ?

User centered design

Designing a user centered design requires lots of researchs and empathy ( required asset for every UX designer ).
The goal of a user centered design is not to satisfy the customer. It mainly focus on putting yourself in the shoes of the end users and using an approach that put the end user on the top of your Priority Pyramid.

Customer centered design

Customer centricity is deeply understanding customer needs and fulfilling on those needs.
So using customer centered design, we’re looking for the needs of the person who buys it. We are not thinking about the needs of his end users.

Let's take an examples !

Kids Educational app tailored for children between the ages of 2-6.


We design an app that helps parents teach their children, it contains educational activities, learning paths and educational games ( drawing, painting … ) .
If we design with the user of the product/service in the center of our thoughts and build a product around him, we will design a different product as we would get if we put the customer in our focus. 

1-Customer Centered approche:

For example the parents want to take control of the learning paths and activities so then can pick the right program for the kids, they can monitor the progress and buy more features. The customer of this app is the Parents but the end user whos the app is made for is the kids. The Parents will only manage and monitor the activities of their kids.

2-User Centered:

Now let us imagine we’re designing for our user, for the kids . If the main goal is to deliver a fun educational app that focus the kids’ User Experience as the main goal, then we should make a “User Centered Design”.


I think now we have a clear picture of how customer centered design and user centered design can be differentiated. Most products have a part focusing on the Customer and another part focusing on the User.
What about you ? which approach are you using ?

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