UCD Charrette Process Blog
User and Design Solution
During this UCD Charrette, my group’s intended users were young individuals who’ve recently learned how to drive. New drivers are prone to nervousness and mistakes because they are not used to the rules of the road. We wanted to focus our solution on helping the users navigate the road effectively and safely. The scenario we came up with is a teenager who is driving over the speed limit at night and thinking about changing lanes by crossing double yellow lines. The teen’s actions are illegal and dangerous for everyone on the road. Our solution to the problematic scenario is to create a voice-activated interface in the car that will remind the teenager to slow down and avoid crossing.
We named our product Mr.Rules and his system is capable of monitoring the user’s speed and upcoming traffic signs such as stop. We drew up interface designs and used a flow chart to demonstrate the user’s interaction with the device. Our main screen was just Mr.Rules’ face and the interface turns into a menu during the drive. Mr.Rules’ reminders will only pop up when the driver is speeding or breaking the traffic guidelines.
The UCD technique was extremely fun and engaging. My group came up with several diverse ideas and worked with each other to build on each thought. The sticky notes and time limit added organization to a very chaotic, creative process. The questions that I want to explore in the future include:
What was the core problem and did our solution address it?
How can we keep the user in mind during the design process?
My team had found a solution to the user’s lack of experience with road rules but maybe the core problem was actually the learning process itself. In that case, our solution would be a different product that help student learn the rules better before they get their license. In future UCD Charrettes, I will address this problem at the very start of the design process so that my group is not creating an unnecessary product for users.
I see myself applying the UCD Charrette technique in future endeavors that require innovation and out of the box thinking. The technique is useful for projects are that user-centered because during the inspiration and ideation stage my group was able quickly come up with a bunch of user’s needs and possible solutions for a specific user. This summer, I am building an arcade machine and will definitely incorporate this process because I need to keep the players in mind. The use of flow maps will help me visualize how the machine will work and the interactive design portion will help me keep track of how I want the player to interact with the machine.
During the UCD Charrette process, I had to switch groups and learn the new group’s problem and idea. This is helpful for sparking new ideas but it lacks continuity that some projects require. I don’t think the process would be as beneficial for projects that are not user-centered and required a lot of time and research. Someone who is writing a book may not use this process because they care more about the story rather than how the readers interact with the book itself. There is no need for user-centered design in those types of scenarios.