Week 1: USD Charette
For week one studio’s assignment, we were assigned to design and create a car interface for a specific user. The user my group was assigned to was a pet owner, and our immediate brainstorm ideas pertained to specific locations where a pet owner may need to take their pet such as a pet store, groomer or a park. While a pet GPS application seemed like an obvious and useful tool for a pet owner, the idea that we chose to explore pertained to a pet tracker. The application idea was based on a road trip scenario where a pet (ex. dog), after a prolong time in the car, wanted to roam around freely outside, and the pet owner, as well, wanted to make a rest stop to do some errands. The application would allow both individuals to do their tasks freely because the car, using the collar on the pet, would track the pet’s location as the owner did his or her errands. The design of this application first allowed the user to check on the nearest location at which the owner can make the rest stop, and then allowed the owner to track the pet. In addition, when the owner returned from their errands, he or she would be able to connect the application to their phone to search for their pet.
For me, the challenge was determining the wants and needs of the user. I am not a pet owner myself and have never owned a pet so the ideas that came to my mind when brainstorming interfaces were very limited. From this experience, I learned the importance of cooperation and teamwork. While I am unable to bring many ideas to specific subjects, other individuals are able to and thus, as a team, we can build off a single idea, therefore all contributing and creating the final product. Although as my team and I continued to work on the interface, I asked myself, “Is this applicable to every pet owner?” and “Are there individuals excluded from this interface?” and “Can this interface be used in multiple situations?” The fact is, we designed this interface with only one subject in mind: dogs. This interface is not applicable to cats, birds, or any other pets. In addition, this product could only be applied to very specific situations, therefore I felt that there was a dilemma of whether or not this interface would be used at all. Targeting dog owners would not be a problem if our user designated just dog owners, but the user encompassed all pet owners. In the future, I hope to learn to think of solutions pertaining to the entirety of my user instead of just a small group within them.
In any project, the audience is always key in determining many aspects of the final product. I simply just tasted what human-centered design is all about, but I’ve discovered the importance of one’s audience and the essence of what “human-centered” is all about. In any field of study, from mathematics to design, individuals must consider their audience. It determines the tone and style of writing in a research paper as well as the structure and colors of a physical product like a lemon juicer. Because of this, I feel that the concepts I’ve learned from the Charrette can be applied in multiple situations such as when I’m writing a paper for a communication class or when I am presenting a research topic in my physiology class. In each scenario, I can evaluate my audience’s background and knowledge thus apply these characteristics to how I should address and approach each problem. Considering the “human” or audience is a practice that we do everyday, but in HCDE we are consciously considering the audience. The work we do from research to ideation to presentation is centered on the human and making his or her life better. I know this technique will carry onto many more future projects of HCDE but moreover carry into more situations of my life as well.