ISO 13407

ISO 13407: Human Centred Design Process for Interactive Systems


ISO 13407:1999 Human-centred design processes for interactive systems.


International Standard.

Lifecycle Phase

  • Analyse the opportunity
  • Build the context of use
  • Create the user experience
  • Track usage and improve

Type of Guidance

Principles and general recommendations.

Application Area

  • Equipment
  • User testing
  • Software
  • Process


This influential standard is "aimed at those managing the design process" and is now increasingly used to ensure software quality. For example, in their document, "Quality Framework for UK Government web site Design: What is a Good Government web site?" (Warning: PDF), the Office of the e-Envoy writes:

“The main body of this Framework is derived in part from ISO 13407: Human centred design processes for interactive systems (see Appendix C for details).” (p4)

The standard describes four principles of human-centred design:

  1. Active involvement of customers (or those who speak for them).
  2. Appropriate allocation of function (making sure human skill is used properly).
  3. Iteration of design solutions (therefore allow time in project planning).
  4. Multi-disciplinary design (but beware overly large design teams).

...And four key human-centred design activities

  1. Understand and specify the context of use (make it explicit – avoid assuming it is obvious).
  2. Specify user and socio-cultural requirements (note there will be a variety of different viewpoints and individuality).
  3. Produce design solutions (note plural, multiple designs encourage creativity).
  4. Evaluate designs against requirements (involves real customer testing not just convincing demonstrations).

The standard itself is generic and can be applied to any system or product. 


Anyone that wants to introduce usability processes into a project or organisation.

See Also

ISO 9241-11:1998 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs) -- Part 11: Guidance on usability.

ISO/IEC 9126-1:2001 Software engineering -- Product quality -- Part 1: Quality model.

ISO/IEC TR 9126-2:2003 Software engineering -- Product quality -- Part 2: External metrics.

ISO/IEC TR 9126-3:2003 Software engineering -- Product quality -- Part 3: Internal metrics.

Note: this page is a few editions behind the eBook and is out-of-date. For the very latest on ISO 9241 get the eBook version of ISO 9241 for Beginners.

ISO 9241 for Beginners

Do you need a more up-to-date version of this guide? Do you need a version formatted for printing? Would you like a searchable version of this document on your own computer? Download the ISO 9241 eBook.

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