For this charrette activity, we went through a series of steps in order to design a viable smart car app for a specific type of user. We first identified as many different vehicles as we could think of, and the user group that went with that vehicle. After grouping up the different pairs, each team received one pair to focus on. My team’s user group and vehicle was monkeys driving a spaceship, so we went through the process of brainstorming the needs of the spaceship driving monkeys, and designed accordingly. The end product design included a sketched wire frame of the different windows that the smart car interface would include for a food dispenser built into the dashboard. Monkeys driving spaceships get hungry too!
While we brainstormed a variety of vehicles and user groups, a question was raised in my mind considering the best ways to discover information about your user group. In class, we were going off of our understanding of the groups, but my question involves the best ways of collecting data, and furthermore, considering the feelings and priorities of the user group you are targeting. How does one, as a researcher or scientist, discover these things in an efficient and effective way?
I enjoyed the creativity we were called upon to express during this activity. It felt like a breath of fresh air to be able to explore a variety of avenues, based upon whatever our mind could think of. In school, I often feel so confined by sets of rules or theories that have already been thought of. When dealing with design and engineering, I feel free to explore my own thoughts and ideas. I enjoyed feeling free to think about user groups and our product in whatever way I chose, and not feeling the pressure of “being right” about all of it.
This type of activity would be helpful when designing an app or product when you are working with a group. With a charrette, everyone gets a chance to express their ideas, which is helpful in fleshing out the good ideas and perhaps combining them to create the best solution. A charrette would also be helpful if you’re crunched for time, as it is a quick way of brainstorming ideas and coming up with a design. A charrette might not be appropriate for long, drawn out projects that take a lot of time and research in order to be completed.