HCDE 210 Experience: User Centered Design Charrette
WHAT: The first ‘sprint’ of the quarter was essentially an brief intro to user-centered thinking and a head-first dive into putting that thinking into practice. We started off the activity by identifying images of automobile screen assistants and asked to analyze the characteristics, design, and what user we thought would be associated to that particular one. From there we brainstormed about specific users that could be designed for and the vehicles they would be driving and made a Post-It Note wall map with them all.
With this information available to us, we grouped up to create scenarios with pairings of user and their vehicle to design an automobile screen assistant fit for that pairing. Every now and again, a member of the group would rotate to another group as a means to introduce ourselves to more of the class. The first part of the design process was to sketch out a scenario that our user and their vehicle would make their screen assistant shine! The second part of the design process was to create a flow chart for the interactivity the assistant would provide in the scenario. This means mapping out a path the user would take in terms of clicks, swipes, taps, voice commands, etc. for the scenario we were creating. The last part of the design process was to combine the first two into an interactivity scene.
To wrap it all up, each group had to prepare a 1 minute presentation about their three design processes, and when our Studio Leader said 1 minute, she meant 60 SECONDS!
SO WHAT: This first sprint taught me that the design process is a collaborative, iterative, and fast one! This experience taught me to dive into problems with little fear and ready to bounce back ideas with my team. No problem, product or question can be done single-handedly. The basis of user centered design is to always move forward with ideas and ask lots of questions to better improve what you are working on, mistakes will happen, but through persistence and dedication, success will come. I believe that I am not alone in saying that interacting with and presenting to a room of people you do not know can be a bit nerve-racking but I saw such a change in that studio from start to finish for the sprint, people were collaborating across tables, and across the room! It was amazing to see people open up and create amazing ideas.
NOW WHAT: The next steps from this first sprint activity are to: first off, know what you expect pace-wise and thought-process-wise and secondly, to be ready for change and critique of the ideas I have. My studio leader told me that I have a very generalized way of thinking and that once I get down to the specifics, I hit the mark. Her suggestion was to try to get to the specific thoughts quicker to apply them to the scenario at hand. For example, when asked to think about a user’s needs, not jumping to how to solve that need, but identify the need in its entirety and dissect from there.
All in all, I loved the experience of this sprint activity because the time flew by and you could feel all the ‘ideation’ and collaboration going on in the room! This approach, although not complicated in nature, is a very powerful tool to begin designing from scratch in an organized and efficient way. Sketching and charting, bouncing ideas back and forth then deciding on a good model to move forward with is an amazing skill to develop when working on any project that involves user interactivity.