UCD Charrette

In our first sprint for the quarter, we were given a design challenge to think of a solution to a user’s need given a specified user. Before we even began the sprint, we came together as a class and brainstormed various users of motor vehicles and wrote them down on post-its. Our ideas ranged from a student commuter, to the disabled, to batman. Then, we organized everyone’s post-its into categories of users to get an overview.

Afterwards, our CA handed out different types of users to each group as a starting point for our sprint. My group got a mother with young kids. Then, we brainstormed the needs for a vehicle given our user’s situation. We thought of various needs, such as driving her child to and from school. From there, my group and I thought of a problem our user may have while she drove her child to school. Our biggest concern was that if her children were young, they would be bored, constantly crying, and therefore distracting the mother from the road. From there, we brainstormed a solution: create a distraction for the child during the drive so the mother can focus on the road. We decided to create a built-in entertainment system for the child to use while the mother is driving on the road. It includes movies, tv shows, games, etc. From there, we sketched how a typical situation would play out: during a drive, the child is crying and distracting the mother, the mother decides that the child needs to turn his attention to something else, so the mother decides to turn on the entertainment system, therefore distracting the child and focusing back on the road.

Before we began drawing the scenario, we sketched out rough drafts on post-it notes

After we finished sketching our scenario, we turned our attention back to the actual product we were creating and sketched a design flow. Say we start from the home screen — what interactions does the user have to follow to get to her goal? We wanted there to be minimal steps to our user flow so that the driver wasn’t being distracted while turning on the entertainment system. We decided from the home screen, the user will be prompted with three options: maps, entertainment, and car settings. From there, the mother would tap the entertainment option, then “send to back” so that the child could interact with the entertainment system from the screen attached to the back of the driver’s (or passenger’s) seat. We all agreed that having a simplistic and quick flow would quickly solve the user’s problem with the least amount of distraction.

Making a design flow

As a final step to our process, we sketched out a quick wireframe to show the screens our user would be prompted with. We sketched a home screen, followed by the options, and the “send to back” option.

Sketching screens of our product

Reflecting back on our first sprint, I think my group and I did a fantastic job finding a problem and creating a simple, but effective solution for our user. However, I think we definitely could have improved in the quality of our work and presentation if we had more time for ideating and sketching solutions. Our class was slightly crunched for time while we completed each step of the sprint and I think it forced my team to rush through things that we could have put more thought and effort into. It was also strange to me that halfway through the sprint, we switched groups. It felt like there was valuable time wasted in explaining our user, problem, and solution to our new group member halfway through the design process.

Additionally, I think my team had some confusion about what was expected of us for each step of the design process which also slowed us down. Since it was our first time, we weren’t really sure how to approach each step and it took us some time to find the direction that worked for us. However, after going through the first sprint, we’ll definitely have a better handle on what we need to do to efficiently and effectively go through each step, especially now that we experienced the full design process first hand.

After this charrette, I feel excited and ready to take on our next sprint this week as we move into interaction design.

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