HCDE 210- UCD Charrette

By Ha Jung Nolte
Working with classmates to brainstorm ideas of for vehicle interfaces

What happened?

This week in studio, we were introduced to the process of UCD Charrette. UCD stands for “user-centered design” and charrette is the collaboration of ideas from your teammates to reach a point of solution/product. We first started off with creating groups and introductions. With the given task of creating vehicle interfaces, in these groups, we jotted down possible types of users and their corresponding vehicle. We then took it a step farther and created scenarios for specific users and their vehicles. For my group, our user was a person with many dogs driving a SUV. Together, we came up with the scenario of a person traveling with their dog, and having to find appropriate pit-stops for both their dogs and themselves. The final steps were thinking critically of what this user might want/need in order to have a interface that best suits and accommodates to dog lovers and their pets.

Presenting a proposal for a vehicle interface for dog lovers

The process of UCD Charrette was fairly quick. I believe it was very fast paced because 1) we only had so much time in class 2) to give us a taste and a glimpse of the steps in creating a user-centered product, such as a vehicle interface. By working in groups and throwing out ideas to one another, it gave an emphasis on teamwork and that great products do not come from just one person, but from a network of people.


One of the worries I had from the very beginning of this task was “How could we possibly come up with product and present it in this short given time?” To my surprise and to many others in the class, there was a lot we had accomplished in the 2 hours that we were given. That was very encouraging for someone who often thinks of herself as a slow and uncreative. And that is another thing, this technique makes you realize that there is no right or wrong answers; every idea is worthy of contribution. My classmates never shut down my ideas but rather encouraged.

A problem that I saw with this technique was being a little lost once switching from one group to another. Although I understood appreciated meeting more of my classmates other than the initial 2 I started off with, after the switch, I did feel like I couldn’t contribute as much because ideas were already very much developed and all I could really do is listen, watch and observe. Next time, I will communicate with my new teammates better in order to fully understand their ideas so I can help them as much as I can.

Where to Next?

As an intended Health Informatics and Health Information Management major, I could possibly see this technique reappearing as I go through the program and also after graduation in the hospital field. Although I am not in this major yet, I know there is a lot of team work involved with this program. I believe this major is very human-centered as I the field I want to get into involves data analysis. During the program, I can image my group and I coming up with a program that is easy to use and keeps data of clients well organized by thinking of what both clients and analysts might want/desire such as privacy and proficient data entry. Also, while working in the real world, I could image being a part of a committee trying to create a program that allows data analysts to be able to study the given data in a more organized and clearer format.

A time this technique would not be appropriate to use is when it more geared towards the field of engineering and art. Art is not really created for human-centered usability but rather for entertainment and amusement. For example, if I plan of making a Christmas card for my coworkers in the future, I would not need to use the UCD Charrette technique to complete this task.

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