UCD Charette Process

The task seemed simple enough — design a dashboard user-interface catered to a specific type of driver. Our driver was described as an individual who is busy throughout the entire day, and regularly needs to be notified when and where their meetings or other arrangements are taking place throughout the day.

We first started with our storyboard scenario drawings, of the problems that arise in the individual’s day and how our design would solve them.

Me, attempting to explain my thoughts regarding how the interface’s screen space should be allocated.

Next, we listed features that our we could implement in our interface to solve the individual’s problems through various sticky notes, compiling to a comprehensive web map of features. The solution was a tablet-sized screen in the center of the dashboard, where a large portion of its screen real-estate would be dedicated to a Calendar app (synced to the user’s phone), detailing the event specifics, ETA with live traffic data, and weather conditions for the day.

Rough sketch of our scenario storyboard and interaction flow

What I liked so much about the storyboard technique was that it provided a clear visual (rough) representation of how our design would exist if it was produced, not only for us, but for others to analyze as well. It also followed a logical step-by-step scenario storyline, so that our ideas were well-organized. Also, the fact that sticky notes could be used for small annotations on the scenarios, or last-minute considerations before moving on to the next steps.

This technique is useful not only in design, but any group-oriented activity. It maintains organization within the group and provides a visual representation for any other observers to easily identify the scope of your design. If for whatever reason, my team and I must abandon the project for some time, we can pick up right where we left off with our scenario guideline. I (and other filmmakers) frequently use this technique when drafting out my film projects, so that I can remind myself of certain shots. This is similar to designing the interface, where we roughly sketch certain features that we need to implement. It may not be appropriate in later stages of the design process, where detailed illustrations and specifics are required.

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