I have recently returned from an international standards meeting in Washington (and that is a story in itself – I nearly had to fly without my laptop and Treo – aargh!) where we were discussing the revision of the human centred design standard ISO 13407.

This standard is widely regarded as the authoritative statement of user centred design and most usability consultants and practitioners (System Concepts included) refer to it in some form.  

When ISO originally published the standard in 1999, we were hoping that it would be used by project managers to help ensure that the systems they design and develop are usable in practice. We were pleased that it has been so well received in the US, where it has been influential in the development of usability reporting standards (which have now been adopted by ISO) and in Japan.

In the UK, it has been recommended in government guidelines for websites and information systems and is also referenced in PAS 78, a BSI guide to specifying accessible websites. 

It is now time for it to be revised and, as Project Editor (again), I have a strong sense of ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’. But I do want to improve it, so, in the best traditions of human centred design, we are asking for input from stakeholders ie anyone with an interest. 

I’d really like to know how you use it, what you would like to keep, what to ditch and what to add. I am determined that it remains one of the slimmest International Standards so there will be some tough decisions to be made when our working group next meet to plan the drafting project.

We would really appreciate your comments so you can add them here and/or send them to me at Tom@system-concepts.com.

Even if you just want it to stay as it is, please let me know.


Tom Stewart is Joint Managing Director of

System Concepts

, a usability and accessibility consultancy.