Charrette Blog

What?

For our charrette, we collaborated with peers to design an interface to help a specific category of driver and vehicle to solve a situation. We began by brainstorming different types of drivers in our group. Then for each specific driver that our group came up with, we paired the kind of car that they would typically be driving. Once we were done brainstorming, we chose one of the drivers and determined a scenario that the driver could face while driving wrote a story for it. Our driver was a bus driver who was facing a blocked route and needed to find a detour. Next, we designed an interface that can assist the bus driver with this situation. We made a flowchart of the step by step process they would use to complete the task. In our interface, there was a map guide and the user could use it to select which route they were going to take. Once selected, the user had the option in the interface to go on a detour for a shorter and faster route. Finally, we sketched out how the screens of the interface would look during this process and presented our design to the class.

The story for how a bus driver interacts with our interface to find a detour

So What?

Interaction flow chart for bus map interface

I enjoyed this technique because it was a fast paced brainstorming session with great ideas flying all over the place. It made me really comfortable with being able to express my own ideas. A question that I would like to explore in the future would be how to make the charrette more productive? There were many times during our brainstorming that my group was silent because we weren’t coming up with any other ideas. There must be some techniques to help a group out when it comes to coming up with ideas. Another problem that my group faced was putting ourselves in the user’s shoes. We really wanted our interface to be relevant to the user and not be too complicated. A solution to this issue could be doing more research and read the user’s opinion on the problem and what they want out of the product.

Now What?

This technique can be very beneficial to me with mechanical engineering. I am striving to have a career that’s involved with designing parts for machining, which involves a great deal of brainstorming and troubleshooting with peers. In design meetings for parts, it would be great for people to keep throwing out their ideas so we can see their perspectives on the design. From there we would be able to put all of the best ideas together and build a premium part. I will also apply this technique to coming up with ideas for group projects. Starting out by writing my ideas down on sticky notes made me more comfortable with sharing my ideas, so this would really help the whole group to contribute to the task. This technique wouldn’t be appropriate when working in a large group because there would be too many ideas flying around and it would be difficult to collaborate with so many opinions. So it may be best to split off into smaller groups and use this technique before working together as one large group.

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