UCD Charrette: Car Interface


On March 29 in the first HCDE studio session lead by Dharma, I experienced the fast pace of a charrette in the design of a car interface suited to the needs of a specific type of user. The user I received was someone anxious about driving, and after brainstorming with my team of three, we decided on the scenario where the driver has a heart condition and is afraid of having a heart attack while driving.

Figure 1: Seeing the different needs of different types of drivers
Figure 2: Discussing the different circumstances needed to be considered for our user’s needs

In response to this, we decided to transform the mini van into a mini ambulance by designing an app installed in the car interface where emergency contacts would be listed, of which includes hospital. This would automatically allow the GPS system to search for the nearest hospital and change the vehicle to auto-drive as we wouldn’t want to patient to over-exert themselves. On the way to the destination, a message including the car license, the name of the driver, and estimated arrival time would be sent to the hospital so that the employees are aware of the incoming patient. Once arrived, the vehicle will unlock the doors to allow the nurses to escort the patient in.


During the designing process of the car interface, I found myself assimilating many different ideas coming from my teammates and then improving upon those ideas. Eventually I found myself understanding that the entire designing process, the reason why we designed this app that would allow the vehicle to be transformed into a mini ambulance, was only possible through the concerns brought up by the user. This specific concern that the user has is what shapes and gives the entire designing process a goal in order to address this issue. In this sense, I understood more about the human centered aspect focused on the designing process.

Furthermore, the methods we used to design the car interface app was purely a vision that we set up that could potentially meet the user’s needs. This design did not consider the feasibility of what the idea encompasses; rather it opens up the creativity flow for a model that can/should be strived towards.

While this process helped me understand more about the extent of the focus on human needs, I also found myself struggling to keep up with the fast pace that the charrette sets. The time constraints made it difficult for me to record my thoughts and ideas as I could only run them through with my teammates briefly before we moved on to the next section. So by the time I had finished recording our ideas, everyone else had started on the process of designing the user interface.


With this charrette introduction session, I have gained new insight on how I can adjust myself better for the next sprint that we do in studio so I can be more prepared and come up with more developed ideas that are applicable to the user’s needs. It is also extremely important to share ideas with your teammates and there is no room to be shy because of the limited amount of time. In perspective, these ideas that may seem under-developed to you may actually end up proceeding in furthering the designing process as the idea will be shaped and molded with the ideas of your teammates. Communication is key.

From this experience, I realized that I could draw some of the skills I learned to apply in my future endeavors, especially in the industry. Meetings with co-workers are essential in spreading ideas for the rapidly growing consumers’s interests and needs. The charrette activity will have prepped me on the expectations of the quality of the work produced in a pressured setting. In addition to expectations, teamwork is fundamental in any team-based setting. The activity that we did will allow me to work more comfortably with others on the various different projects that are to come.

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