Brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) allow individuals to use only cognitive activities to interact with their environment. The widespread use of BCIs is limited, due in part to their lack of user-friendliness. The main goal of this work was to develop a more user-centered BCI and determine if: (1) individuals can acquire control of an online near-infrared spectroscopy BCI via usability and performance-informed selection of mental tasks without compromising classification accuracy and (2) the combination of usability and performance-informed selection of mental tasks yields subjective ease-of-use ratings that exceed those attainable with prescribed mental tasks. Twenty able-bodied participants were recruited. Half of the participants served as a control group, using the state-of-the-art prescribed mental strategies. The other half of the participants comprised the study group, choosing their own personalized mental strategies out of eleven possible tasks. It was concluded that users were, in fact, able to acquire control of the more user-centered BCI without a significant change in accuracy compared to the prescribed task BCI. Furthermore, the personalized BCI yielded higher subjective ease-of-use ratings than the prescribed BCI. Average online accuracies of and were achieved by the personalized and prescribed mental task groups, respectively.