Process Blog #1 — UCD Charrette

This week, we designed a smart car display to cater to the audience of busy parents. In the scenario we imagined, a family is on a rather long car ride when the children in the backseat start to get impatient and rowdy, distracting their parent from the possible dangers on the road in front of her. To solve this, we designed a smart car tool that would theoretically be mostly, if not all, voice-controlled, allowing the parent to play music or a movie or find the nearest bathroom or restaurant, without further distracting the parent from the road.

The visual representation of our scenario.
The team presenting our design solution.

Reflecting on this week’s design challenge, it’s clear that there are numerous areas of design I want to explore in the future. I especially want to get to a point where we can build prototypes of our design solutions to see how functional the solutions we conceive of are. A challenge we encountered this week was the feeling of time pressure, as most of us were scrambling for time as the deadlines for the various aspects of our design approached.

“How fast time seemed to pass” was chief among the surprises during this week’s design.

I loved that this project pushed the boundaries of my known capabilities from a creativity aspect. I’ve never considered myself to be very creative, but I found myself having epiphany after epiphany during this design, trying to come up with a novel and functional solution to the scenario placed in front of us.

In the future, I could see myself using user-centered design in many aspects of my life. Regardless of my eventual career, the ideation process is something I feel will prove useful to me, whether in a studio designing games or smart technology, bouncing ideas off one another to come up with that “next big thing”, or in an office thinking about how to maximize the efficiency of the office space I share with coworkers, taking suggestions and drawing diagrams for possible layouts to maximize satisfaction and productivity. A place where I feel it may not be as appropriate, however, are in situations in my household, as in a house with roommates or even my own family, each member has a different, nuanced perspective on the world that colors how they design their own space, which is something that I find extremely important.

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