Our first studio of the quarter focused on user-centered design which is a central part of the human centered design practice. For this studio we gained experience with the design process by actively working together to create a design that would satisfy our users wants and needs while also catering to their limitations.
The prompt we were given was that our user would interact with an interface within a vehicle. Taking this prompt, we brainstormed different types of users and their vehicles. After choosing one user to focus on, we also brainstormed which needs our user had.
The user that my group focused on was a young couple and their toddler in an SUV. The problem that we needed to solve was for when the toddler became hungry and the parents needed to find a family friendly place to eat.
To solve this problem, we combined ideas from Google Maps and Yelp which resulted in a system where the user could easily access a screen to search for the nearest restaurant that fit the criteria of the user’s needs (i.e. family friendly, within a certain distance, etc.). We also decided that the system had the option of being voice activated, to make it safer for those driving.
After figuring out the scenario, we created an interaction flow which allowed us to present how the user interacted with the system.
I like how the user-centered design process focuses on fixing or improving the lives of others. More specifically I like how the charrette process encourages people to come up with a solution quickly and then to go over and focus on more specific aspects of a problem. I think continuous revising is better than attempting a perfect solution on the first try. This technique forces people to think through different solutions which may at first seemed unreasonable or impossible.
Charrettes are useful for solving or improving many different types of problems. The charrette forces one to consider all users or people who would be affected and the situations that they might find themselves in.
In the future, I would definitely do a charrette when starting a new project as I think they are most helpful when you’re near the beginning of a project or for when you need to improve a small section of a larger project. Charrettes are focused on specific problems so they may not be the best for tackling larger projects.