What makes human-centered design unique is its emphasis on... well... humans. Everything we brainstorm around, tinker with, and design for is the person with the problem at hand. Making sure that we know who we're solving for and working with  is crucial to a successful outcome. 
I love the idea of a wholistic approach. Getting to know all about your target audience paints a picture and makes the challenge more personable. In our first class, we experimented with the gift-giving process. What is the experience like for the giver? What does the process leading up to gifting look like? What is the ideal goal of giving someone a gift? As we asked these questions, other questions followed naturally. Eventually I got to know more about the person I was interviewing. What her relationships looked like with the people she was giving to, how she organized her time and prioritized setting time apart to pick out her gifts, and what she like receiving herself were several things I learned about her. As I already had a preexisting relationship with her, I also had the advantage of knowing which questions to prompt her with to learn more specifically related to the topic at hand. 
Understanding the needs of who I was designing for increased my investment in the design process. Knowing that I was trying to solve someone else's problem held me accountable and put pressure on the success of the end result. While this was a very basic experiment, I can see how in the future it will be necessary to get to know the subject so that the person truly stays at the center of the process. Ultimately that's what HCD is about. The interview process is only one part of the whole, but it sets the stage for what's to come.

AUGUST 31ST, 2020