UCD Charrette Process Blog

Author’s Note: I wasn’t registered the first week of class, so this activity I did on my own; I didn’t do any of the group stuff, nor do I have pictures to use with this blog.

What?

Our UCD Charrette had to do with smart vehicle interfaces. I envisioned a scenario where an Uber driver (whom I called John, for convenience’s sake) wanted to know where a good place to stop and wait for his customer would be. The reason why this is an issue is because while Uber and similar apps technically do give you the location of your charge, there may be unforeseen obstacles — bus stop zones, red curbs, driveways and exits, and so on. As a result, John has to try scanning around for a place to stop temporarily so that he can get his customer on board. This divides the attention and, on top of being inconvenient, is possibly dangerous. So I devised a solution where an option on the standard navigation screen in one’s car would zoom in to a useful level and highlight stop-safe zones in green, to make things easier on poor old John.

So What?

I found this technique useful because I felt like I was targeting a specific need. Because I started with a potential beneficiary before I came up with a feature, I was able to come up with a feature that would be directly useful. One concern I had is that I was targeting one type of user, but this is the type of system that wouldn’t be sold to just one type of user. Everyone uses cars. And my Stop-Zone feature isn’t necessarily useful for everyone. For some, it may be an inconvenience; what if they accidentally press the button and the navigation display zooms in and displays irrelevant information? It could be at best, annoying, or at worse, dangerous.

Now What?

It’s conceivable that I may find myself working in some sort of technology-related job. And, further, it’s conceivable that this job involves creating products for people. If I were looking at an extant product and considering how it may be improved, this process is certainly useful. I can imagine what kind of people would be using the product based on what I know, and from that it’d be easy to research those people and figure out what they need. Anything where I’m trying to figure out how to better serve people would benefit from this process. I’m not sure how useful it would be for trying to come up with entirely new products; in this case, we had a defined thing to be improving, and we already knew how it worked.

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