UCD Charrette Process Blog

What did we do?

Last week during the studio session of the class, we did a charrette focusing on user-centered design. We were tasked to design an in-car dashboard console using the design strategies we had just learned.


We started by brainstorming to identify our users. We used sticky notes to write down potential users, and then wrote down a possible type of car they would drive on the sticky note, and then arranged the sticky notes into categories on a whiteboard like so:

source: http://www.formstack.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/scrum.jpg


After we organized our brainstorming, we identified a specific user to focus on, in this case the elderly, and started to brainstorm more ideas as to what our target user might need in their dashboard console. After our brainstorming session, my team focused on three key necessities for our design:

  • Must have a simple / easy to understand interface
  • Must be able to make and receive calls
  • Interface must be clearly labeled


Our third and final step was to draw our design. Keeping the three key necessities above in mind, my team came up with a design similar to the following:

source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/43/5b/c0/435bc0d9f18ef953472db4f97d4acc44.jpg

The center console is simple, large, and easy to read. There are steering wheel buttons that control some of the operations so that the elderly driver never needs to let go of the steering wheel. There is also another screen behind the steering wheel that displays some information from the console so that the elderly driver is able to keep his or her eyes on the road.

What did I like about the process?

I really enjoyed the teamwork that went into the brainstorming process during designing. It was really impressive to see so many ideas come together and it was just as interesting to see how easily they could be organized into broader sections, and then a design could be made for each one. It begs the question, however, what are the next steps? Is there yet another brainstorm to see how the designs can be combined to reach the most people? I’m excited to find out.

How can this process be applied elsewhere?

This design process can be applied to a lot of things. Some of the things that come to mind right away are community organizing, creative writing, and management. All of these things require a process by which many many ideas are presented initially and then the group is whittled down to just a few good ones, and eventually they good ones are synthesized into the best possible idea. This process was the most effective way to organize ideas that I have ever experienced, and I would not be surprised if I use this process in another one of my classes in the future. Not only that but when one is facing a crossroads in life, this process could also be applied. In that situation the person going through the process must take extra care to consider every idea, however, but it would still work. I’m excited to continue learning the fine points of good design processes.


Our new office manager, Kelly, writing down a new project. 2011, Formstack. www.formstack.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/scrum.jpg. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.

2011 VOLKSWAGEN BULLI CONCEPT. 2013, Car Interiors tumblr. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/43/5b/c0/435bc0d9f18ef953472db4f97d4acc44.jpg. Accessed 4 Apr. 2017.

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