User-Centered Design

Connecting user needs and business goals to develop meaningful product experiences.

Plexus User-Centered Design bridges the gap between marketing vision and engineering realities.

We build empathy for users, create frameworks for design decisions, and embrace constraints within a highly collaborative and creative problem-solving approach. Our User-Centered Design processes and capabilities, combined with the expertise of our engineering teams, enable us to consistently deliver meaningful solutions that meet user needs, deliver the brand promise and are designed to be made.

User-Centered Design Services

Good design is not an individual sport. Data on its own has little value, and design without context cannot create meaningful solutions. That’s why our team brings together a cross-functional group of user researchers, human factors engineers, design strategists and designers.

It’s one cohesive User-Centered Design team where strategists and researchers synthesize field data into strategic frameworks, and those frameworks provide clear and unambiguous guidance to the design team. It’s a collaborative environment that enables objective and direct decision-making, and keeps the user at the center throughout the process.

User Research

Put the user first. Empathize.

Understanding user needs and the context of use is the basis of framing the design problem. We approach research with the goal of building empathy toward users and thoroughly understanding their needs. We formulate an understanding of the user’s behaviors, cognition, emotion and environments through observation, inquiry and testing.

We take a cross-functional approach to immerse not only the researchers, but the strategy, design, and engineering teams into the world in which the products exist.



  • Ethnographic
  • Observation and contextual inquiry
  • Immersion and empathy building
  • Usability assessment
  • Competitive landscapes


  • Research planning and prep
  • Simulated use and guerilla research
  • Usability testing and analysis
  • Workflow analysis
  • Human factors


Be objective and synthesize.

Data from research is only valuable when you apply context and understanding. Synthesizing data to define design opportunities is the starting point for success. A good design strategy, grounded in research, provides a framework for objective design decisions and team alignment.

This strategic framework and alignment are critical in addressing usability and aesthetics properly as we move into exploration. We focus on both of these aspects of the design individually, early on. This provides an unbiased approach to defining the desired use case for which to design a solution.


Define Usability

  • User profiles/personas
  • Journey maps
  • Archetype creation
  • Insights and opportunities
  • Design principles
  • Cross-functional workshops

Define Aesthetics

  • Brand meaning
  • Image boards
  • Market landscapes
  • Semantic cues
  • Aesthetic attributes


Collaborate. Embrace constraints. Innovate.

Our designers work closely with engineering at the earliest stages of design. We ensure feasibility by understanding constraints. Contrary to instinct, understanding and embracing constraints is how and where big ideas happen. With the right understanding of user needs and guidance from a focused strategy, the team is set up to successfully deliver thoughtful, smart solutions and better experiences for users.

We apply the same user-centered design approach to both the physical (industrial design) and the digital (UI design) using insights from research and our guiding strategy to deliver the best user experience possible. Our team addresses the usability and the styling for both physical and digital elements in ways that can be tested with users. Our designers work closely with the researchers to create the right fidelity of stimuli and corresponding protocols as they iterate through rounds of refinement.

Leveraging our engineering teams, we put our concept work into the context of cost and complexity feasibility throughout the entire process, to ensure that we’re making smart decisions along the way.

Industrial Design

Industrial Design examples


  • High volume concept generation
  • Mock-up creation and assessment
  • Sketch concept creation
  • Use case development


  • Sketch rendering
  • Cad creation
  • Stimuli for research
  • Visual brand language


  • Color, material, finish selection
  • Detailed cad and surfacing
  • Renderings/animation
  • Design for manufacture
  • Design intent oversight

UI Design

UI design examples


  • Information Architectures
  • Flow charts
  • Usability and Workflow Analysis
  • Storyboarding


  • Wireframes
  • Mock-ups
  • CAD creation
  • Research stimuli


  • Interactive prototypes
  • Visual design
  • Asset creation/management

User-Centered Design studio spaces and research facility.

Purpose-built for what we do.

With a goal to bring about inspiration and support the company’s commitment as an innovative leader, Plexus opened a new design studio and research facility in 2021. In collaboration with our architects, the User-Centered Design team carefully planned and designed the facility to foster collaboration and creative problem solving.

Open Studio Space

The open studio spaces are the ideal environment for the User-Centered Design team to collaborate, using tools that range from the simple—whiteboards and sketch paper—to advanced virtual tools and rapid prototyping. We’ve built our studios to maximize cross-functional collaboration and facilitate sharing of ideas and technologies among our teams and partners.

open studio space images

Research Facility

The research facility was built with the flexibility to be configured for simulated use environments. The space is equipped with state of the art audio, video and recording technology to enable fast and efficient research events with remote participation.

The space can also function as a workshop setting for cross-functional events and strategic sessions, providing the User-Centered Design team with the right environment to support the work we do.

research facility images

Interested in learning more? We would love to connect!