“Smart Vehicles”

In this charrette, the goal was to create a user interface for a specific vehicle and a specific user. The process began with a brainstorm of possible vehicles and users to design for. This lead to a very large array of possible design targets. From there we selected interesting design challenges and began thinking about possible actions and events that the users would need in their interface. This posed many differences as each specific user and vehicle required a different set of things they would need in their interface. Finally we created a rough design solution and presented it to the class.

Some questions that I had during this process are how do designers make sure that the are meeting all the requirements and key features when they are designing for others? It seems like a difficult task to guess and choose what a certain user might appreciate in their product. During the first brainstorm before seeing everyone else’s ideas for vehicle and user, I noticed that I had constrained my ideas to having the user always be the driver of the vehicle. This leads to the question of how can designers make sure they are not constraining their ideas to their own imaginary rules for what the idea should look like?

I enjoyed the humor in the designs of certain groups. As this project was to practice the designing process with the user experience in mind, some of the projects were far from practical but still addressed the specific users requirements for each design. This made it fun to learn and practice the concept.

I can see this technique being applicable in many projects in the future. They would be very important on those projects that had a high degree of user interaction. An example would be in designing a mobile application for practical or entertainment purposes. In software that is developed for mobile platforms, the designer must be aware of the user experience and keep in mind that mobile platforms are very different from computer situations. A mobile application must have a different set of controls rather than a standard keyboard and mouse. They must also realize that mobile users might often be in situations without internet, and they must keep in mind the difficulties that come with mobile applications such as how much data, processing and battery an application uses. As in mobile applications and other design challenges, it is a good idea to keep in mind the user experience and to design for the user.

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