It has a good sound to it - a term you might hear used by a technologist.
But what does it really mean?
User-centric is a philosophy that puts the users experience in front of all other goals. In other words, the sites design is a result of what works best for usability. This is opposed to a standard 'design-centric' approach, where the design is produced away from the user and then presented to them.
A User-centric design approach generally provides a much more functional website. The design is centered on what is going to work best. If things are being overlooked by the user or hard to find, the team goes back and changes the design accordingly.
On the other hand, user-centric design definitely adds extra steps which can in turn increase costs and development time.
Some things to consider:
- What works best for usability may not always be the best looking design.
- It can involve extra steps and extra rounds of revisions to get it right.
- In order to get the proper feedback , additional bodies are needed to test the site. Ideally these people have never used the site before.
If you have the time, patience and budget, it may make sense to try a user-centric approach on your next project.