UCD Charrette Blog
This blog entry covers my understanding of the user-centered design process and my experience of the charrette.
In studio after a brief introduction of what constitutes a charrette we dove into the User Centered Design Charrette. We first wrote a bunch of users and then vehicles from which one of each was distributed to the groups.
We designed a smart vehicle interface for doctors and nurses who travel on motorbikes. We did this by isolating the user and brainstorming their possible needs, and formulated several scenarios the user could have with the vehicle. This way we could further understand different situations that our smart vehicle interface could tackle. After peer discussion and collaboration we finally decided on the scenario that a doctor was called in late at night to the hospital and he had to rush there on his motorbike. The smart vehicle interface would enable him to choose the fastest route available detecting the traffic, open roads that allowed motorbikes. So when the doctor receives the call from the hospital and he then lists the call as an emergency in his phone, the interface automatically sets location of destination on the motorbike to the hospital and calculates the fastest route possible. It also checks that in a rush the doctor has still adhered to all safety precautions like turning on the headlights if it is in the night and wearing a helmet. It also horns if it detects any obstruction while not in traffic. This interface thus gives the doctor the time to pack all necessary items quickly without worrying about finding a route and setting it on his/her motorbike but also ensures that due to the time pressure of emergencies the doctor still is safe in his travels and does not compromise on safety.
My experience on this process really helped me open my mind to catering to a specific user and specific scenario. Wanting to study computer science, I found that this charette was very enlightening in aspects of specificity and accessibility. The scenario also helps us be in the mind set of the user and think through the whole interaction with the interface like the user would in that particular situation. I would like to explore how different cities or regions have different implications that come into play that would need to be accounted for and perhaps even different times like rush hour versus an empty road. A problem we encountered was tracking of speed. In an emergency the driver may not be aware of speed limits on the road especially in the night. So in the future one possible feature could be speed tracking. I learned how to rationalize and compartmentalize different ideas because as this was a collaboration communication was very important. Due to time constraints we could not get through all possible solutions but given more time we could have had more comprehensive discussion and come up with more efficient solutions.
I really enjoyed this project as it gave us insight into User Centered Design and a first hand experience of what brainstorming can entail. Having groups was also very helpful as one could bounce ideas back and forth to come up with a summation of the ideas which possibly and in our case was better than just our individual solutions. It also helped me think more specifically as wanting to study computer science this is very helpful in separating different cases. I think that thinking specifically also helps get more detailed solutions to different scenarios and if this were done on a larger scale and in many different scenarios I think it can possibly be the distinction between a revolutionary interface and just a mediocre one.
I can see myself using this in the future if I were ever a part of an advertisement company. So to advertise a certain product we would need to isolate the demographic and then tailor their needs and how the product can be integrated into the interaction to promote it. The brainstorming and this process of the charrette would help bring forth solutions and different ideas to effectively do so.