What, How, and Why
First, I brainstormed potential users of a smart car-themed solution. I made sure to not think of a possible product beyond my users in order to think of as many different target groups as possible. Our group’s was delegated the task of designing a car for heavy alcohol drinkers. I listed the ways I could imagine a drinker using our car and what they might want of it. I then made a comic representing one such scenario.
A flowchart of how the smart-car system would function and storyboard/mockups of its use were then created for a clearer visualization of the user’s interaction.
In exploring user-centered design, I found it somewhat difficult to imagine what a specific user might be thinking or wanting to do in certain situations. It was also challenging to switch groups quickly and move from one charette to another. Another thing to work on for next time is to include all the ethical considerations in the design (i.e. not encouraging someone over the legal alcohol limit to drive).
I liked brainstorming and designing a product by the end of just the first studio session. I was surprised to find that once I focused on a user, I could find many places for improvement for them. For example, if someone is heavily intoxicated, they would want to be able to quickly call a friend and let them know of their location.
In the Future
User-centered design seems more like a principle than a process or technique in Human Centered Design. Starting off with a user and his/her problem than with a solution is fundamental in creating useful interaction solutions. I can see myself using this in all projects in the future. I cannot think of a scenario or job where I would not use this.