Ready..Set…SPRINT! HCDE 210 Sprint 1: Intro to UCD Charrette Process

The first day in studio lab, we were introduced to a User Center Design charrette (An intense period of design activity) setup and experienced the process of going through one as if we were working in a professional industrial company.

Everyone’s collaborated brainstormed ideas.

What did you do?

Each table in the studio quickly formed groups of four. We were all presented with a task at hand: “Create a smart vehicle interface to better suit people needs.” With the timer set and the clock ticking, each of our group members and I jotted down ideas on post-it-notes.

Before we could design anything, we needed to consider two factors. The type of users and their needs. After brainstorming and a rotational of ideas, my group quickly narrowed down and developed a scenario of commuting pet owners. The problem was that they needed a more convenient way to load their pets into the vehicle and drive to their destination.

Creating a scenario and interaction flow chart with our collaborated ideas.

As my group continued to progress with the ideas,we next developed an interaction flow chart in relation with the scenario to show how the new smart vehicle interface would work step-by-step in order to complete the task.

Our final solution is an interface that will allow users to control a built in ‘Doggy Lift’ to help load or unload pets (whether in kennels or not) into the car with ease. It is especially beneficial if the pet have sensitive physical health complications or if the user does not wish to do physical labor. The interface will have sensors to detect the weight and will automatically begin to load/unload to save the user from the hassle of manually going back and forth manually between functions.

Reflection: What did I learn?

Reflecting on the entire process and experience of our first charrette.
•Design is a collaboration

For a UCD novice like me, the first thing that was addressed is that in a group work/collaboration situation, I should not be afraid to be vocal. I should go ahead and speak meaningful ideas or thoughts that flow in my head. There’s no great benefit of being timid and reserved since the process of design goes very fast. It’s very easy to be left staggered behind and unheard. I very much enjoyed how everybody is nonjudgmental and welcomes all sort of feedback and ideas. The main point of the whole design process is to consult and collaborate ideas and to design as a team.


It’s very easy to come up with very broad ideas that may have vast potentials. Therefore the probability of being distracted and led astray by our imagination (or possibly our ego) is high. However, with a time constraint, it forces us to come up with ideas faster that meets with the specific criteria. There were ideas that could work and be refined and there were ideas that simply couldn’t work. In that regard, it is important to keep in mind of the objective and find out what/which factors to consider about in order to stay organize and work efficiently.

How could you see applying this technique in the future?

If I’m on a time/budget constraint, and needed to quickly come up with a solid prototype, then this charrette technique would be appropriate. (i.e. product design, programs…) Yes, it is important to brainstorm ideas and continue to refine and develop it into something much more, but it is also important to not dawdle too long in order to keep moving forward into the developing stages.

What kinds of projects do you think would lend themselves to this approach? What might not be appropriate for it?

Any projects that is functional and could address the particular problem/need in a short efficient period of time. I don’t think it works best in projects that would require huge amount of consultants or vast amounts of data and research.

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