UCD Charrette Process Blog

Last Friday, I experienced my first charrette. My group and I worked to design a console for a fisherman in a boat. We imagined that the console would need to have a waterproof screen which contained many applications the fisherman could use to gain information about the boat, as well as the fishing conditions in their area. We included pages which would tell the fisherman the state of the boat and report any damages, direct them to an area with lots of fish, give them a weather forecast and storm warnings, and provide them with a fish encyclopedia and even a form of social media to connect them with other fisherman. We also included an actual large red button (that is not on a screen to press) in order to send a distress signal in case of an emergency.

I really enjoyed the charrette because it was an effective way to brainstorm. I now know I can work well in a pressured, fast paced environment. This charrette allowed me to get all of my ideas out on the table quickly, and gave my group and I time to analyze them and pick out the best ones to incorporate in our design.

I see myself using charrettes in the future when I am presented with some general problem that could have many possible design solutions. As charrettes allow designers to produce many ideas at a fast speed, it provides us with many options which we are then allowed to sort through. I do not think charrettes would work as well if I was working to design a solution to a very specific problem. In that case, the design solution would have to meet a certain set of parameters and accomplish a very specific goal for a specific user. Ultimately, this design solution would have to be very well thought out, which was not necessarily the case with the ideas we came up with in the charrette.

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