My Experience With UCD Charrette

Our project and presentation


For this UCD charrette class, I was in 2 different groups. I’ll focus more on the second group because it’s the group I worked with more. To start, the first group I was in was assigned a van for old people. We decided to make special features such as bigger buttons, parking assist, and hearing assist because they were what old people needed. I moved to my second group which was assigned a car for moms or dads driving babies around. We decided to make a touchpad interface on the car much like an iPad. However, it had safety controls such as the baby lock which enabled, for example, the mom to secure the car door locks with a click of a button on the interface when the mom needed to get out of the car for a few minutes. It also had baby speakers feature which was paired along with the entertainment feature to play music for the baby. The entertainment window has 3 sections: TV, music, and light to help the screen brighten up when watching videos. A typical user might go about using the interface as follows. A mom walks up to her car and she inputs all the controls needed to secure the car by activating the baby lock. Then she inputs the playlist she wants for the baby and as the music starts playing she starts driving. She then gets out of the car to pick up a bottle of water from a store and the baby lock automatically locks the car for her and recognizes her when she comes back and unlocks the car. We drew everything out by hand on a poster.


The technique we used to create this design was strong in some points but a bit messy in others. The best thing about the technique was that it allowed us to fully engage and interact with each other. There was a lot of talking and understanding because it takes a considerable effort to describe a picture in your mind as words. It was quite efficient because we had paper to draw things out so when we really couldn’t describe an idea in our minds, we can just draw it out. The technique allowed us to visualize ideas clearly because of the drawings we made. I also liked the user scenario because through the user scenario, we could find problems that we had not thought of before. For example, for my first group, we were thinking about whether we should start when the old person is getting on the car or in the car and this little detail could change so much of what we have designed because when the old person is just getting on the car, there could be automatic doors that senses the keys to automatically open the doors. Whereas, when the old person is already in the car, we wouldn’t have thought of key sensing automatic doors. One thing I didn’t like about this technique was that it was very time consuming. We talked too much and sometimes we didn’t have a right focus so we couldn’t decide on anything.


I definitely see myself applying this technique in tech industries and even business firms. In major tech companies, there always needs to be innovation and this type of discussion and fast paced design groups can really drive people to be creative in a short amount of time. With multiple persons in the discussion, the ideas increase by many times. A group of just 3–4 people can greatly increase the product output of a company because in just under 2 hours, the groups in the class all came up with decent ideas for cars and each and every one of them were different. Imagine if you had a whole company doing that, the results would be astounding. Also in business firms, there needs to be people designing business models and similarly, this technique could drive out creativity in people and produce the best win win situation business models. One area where this type of technique would not be so useful is in the research or experimentation fields. For example, in my psychology classes, we would often have to think of experimental designs. However, this type of fast paced design technique would not allow the researchers enough time to thoroughly think through the processes. Experimental designs take a lot of reading and processing to create; it’s not a time where you can just throw out ideas. Everything said is carefully planned and backed up with large amounts of evidence and knowledge.