UCD Charrette: A Fast-paced Brainstorming and Storytelling Process

Last Tuesday, I performed UCD Charrette during the studio session!

What? How? And Why?

In small groups, we brainstormed possible car users and their appropriate car screen interfaces and presented our work to the class using sticky notes, drawn-out scenarios, and solution diagrams. My user was a driver with young children. Our scenario was an annoyed mother with her young child whining in the back-seat. Fortunately, the car is equipped with TV screens for back-seat passengers. With a few presses on the car’s touch-screen, the driver activates the TV entertainment, quelling the child. We chose this scenario because large, artistically distinct icons allow the driver to make out icons without having to be distracted by the screen while driving. In our solution diagram, the driver selects the “Entertainment” from the three options of Maps, Entertainment, and Music from the main menu. The driver chooses Movies from three options of Movies, Music, and Games. Finally, the driver either picks a movie or presses “Send screen to back” sending entertainment control to the back-screen.


I really enjoyed the collaboration experience with my classmates to categorize our sticky notes onto the whiteboard. Though everyone fosters different opinions, we successfully assigned different categories of users and helped each other place the sticky notes in their rightful places. It was one hundred percent teamwork instead of individualistic effort of a usual college assignment. Another great aspect of the UCD Charrette is the people rotation that occurred spontaneously. The rotation not only provided a way of meeting my new classmates but also brought in a fresh perspective for our car user solution.


I can definitely apply the UCD Charrette process to a future user-experience internship where I am designing a product that is tailored towards target users. This process can be extremely helpful and creative during case competitions demanding practical solutions under time pressure. Within these events, sticky notes churn out ideas in an efficient, rapid-fire manner, and they can be eliminated one-by-one to develop the perfect solution or can be a combination of ideas. Realistically, sticky notes may not be used when working with managers, but the brainstorming process is vital. Drawing solution diagrams and depicting scenarios are probably the most practical ways of performing user-experience tasks. Since I will be reporting to managers and to various teams to update our progress, I can depict scenarios and present solution diagrams to explain how we can address users’ issues.

Like what you read? Give Jeffrey Zhao a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.