UCD Charrette Process Blog

“Articulating the design process (how and why you made specific design decisions) is also essential to the job.”

Charrette, charet or sometimes called a design charrette, is an intense period of design or planning activity. During the first sprint studio we were given the task of identifying various consumers of GPS and navigation devices. We worked as a group to conclude a cohesive design and scenario tailored to a specific consumers’ needs within a navigation system.


Team brainstorming possible functions for the consumer “mother in a mini van”

Firstly, we began to identify various consumers of cars with our original tablemates. This ranged from seniors, business men, mothers to Indiana Jones. Secondly, we started clustering consumers into similar groups on the board along with other teams brainstorm. Then we were assigned a specific consumer from the board. With rotating tablemates, we began to brainstorm possible functions beneficial to our specific consumer (i.e. Indiana Jones and an escape button feature, Mother and a child lock feature). We then came up and sketched an event where this specific consumer could apply these features to aid their everyday task. Lastly, we sketched a rough design of this multipurpose navigation device and it’s possible features, before finally presenting in front of the rest of the class.


We realized that it was very hard to come up with a cohesive design that everybody in the table contributed to and could agree on. While it was very easy for us to brainstorm a ranging variety of consumers and features, narrowing that list down proved to be incredibly more difficult than expected. This made me realize that while many of us may bring an array of unique thoughts and ideas, this diversity proved that a solid agreement within our short time frame was difficult. My biggest takeaway is that respect is of the utmost importance within these sprints. If we do not respect one another’s values and ideas, many incredible minds can feel shunned in bringing their ideas to light. And we’ve learned in lecture, no core idea is better than another until proven through tests. And even then, you may go through 100 ideas before there is a solid pristine good final product.


I see myself applying this technique in the future in more sprints. As well as also in classrooms and quiz sections. I think that it is easy to assume that your original idea is the best one, but when you allow yourself to experience various options and paradigms you can be exposed to more benefits than you ever thought possible. I found that all of our tablemates were able to come up with various wonderful ideas and alternatives, and while many were different, many features also harmonized wonderfully with our target consumer- which was fascinating. Shunning/shaming anyone’s ideas is incredibly inappropriate and unnecessary during a time valued for its dense variety.

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