UCD Charette

Exploring the design process

WHAT: What did we do and how/why did we do it?

When given the task of designing for a driver going on a road trip we considered the basic needs of the user. We first drew up a scenario that we believed would be common for the user and used this to inspire the next stages of the design process.

In our scenario we concluded that running out of gas was a major problem for users since they would be traveling long distances, perhaps very far from the nearest gas station. From this we then considered how an interface in a car would tackle a similar scenario.

This was stage was vital to the design process because it allowed us to imagine how the user would interact with the interface. From here we were able to create visual interpretations of the interface.

SO WHAT: Why was this process useful?

By doing the charette we were forced to quickly come up with design solutions that were logical and straight-forward. It didn’t allow for overthinking or designing because there was simply no time to do so. I enjoyed using this process because it resulted in simple solutions that successfully solved the problem that was presented in our original scenario. As designers I believe we stray away from the basic purpose of a product too often- we get caught up in the extra features and look of the product and neglect to solve the problem for which the product is made. Through this process we were able to quickly focus on a scenario, identify a problem, and come up with a solution.

NOW WHAT: How and where could you see yourself applying this technique in the future?

Because this process leads to simple and straight-forward design solutions I could see myself using it app design. With technology becoming so integrated in everyday life it is necessary to have applications that will solve a problem quickly and cleanly. When I think of every app I have on my iPhone I can imagine designers using a similar techniques in their creation. Different apps might be catered towards different types of people but they must be simple enough for everyone to access. The intense nature of the charrette forces designers to go back to the basics. With that being said, this design technique is probably not appropriate for more detail-oriented physical products. For example it would be difficult to use this technique to develop a product that dispenses one’s daily medications. Something like this could take many forms, requires background knowledge and also requires attention to detail.

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