For the UCD Charrette Process I, along with my peers brainstormed and designed quick sketches for a user interface that involved a specific user need and the object to accompany that specific need. My group’s situation was on a college student who commutes to campus everyday in a space ship, with the need of timely arrivals in addition to various activities midst the trip (i.e. sleep, study, or do homework). At this point, our group’s user identity had to be further defined in relation to the vehicle of choice, albeit any further description of the user would be viable, but the decision was to make the situation more realistic aside from the science fiction elements in our definition; thus, our defined user was an alien from Mars who commuted to the University of Washington in a space ship. The solution was to design the user interface within the cockpit of the space ship to incorporate a large screen with a keyboard as inputs to carry out the following functions: Head to a destination (Earth or Mars), view canvas.uw.edu, or check the ETA of the trip with graphics to show where the user specifically is.
Given the short amount of time to tackle the problem and in regards to future ones, is there a faster, methodological way to successfully design solutions or is it up to the team to decide the steps towards the solution than discussing the best way to tackle the problem? Although my group finished designing the solution, there was a lack of high fidelity that would have made points more clear to a client which would improve communication and efficiency across both parties. During the process of designing, I realized that my group assumed lacking information within the situation, user and vehicle type, which leads to this question: When working with a client or group of clients, how much communication is necessary to succeed in designing a successful solution?
As in all group projects, communication and ubiquitous information about a particular problem are consequential in successful solution designs. I was excited by the way each group member communicated with precision and uniqueness and bounced ideas around with such open-mindedness that further supplemented the development of the solution. This was a good way to narrow down pathways that seemed most logical in relation to the user, the user’s needs, and the prescribed vehicle.
In conclusion, this charrette was a good learning opportunity in getting my feet wet. I enjoyed how each person in a group viewed the situation and derived their own ideas on how the final product/solution should look like. For example, my group’s rather random situation, albeit it was equally random for each group, was not treated like an obstacle. Rather, we took careful steps in designing an interface that would hypothetically work out for our user by discussing relations within the situation and what would make the most sense in the actual interface (i.e. completely touchscreen, onscreen keyboard, physical keyboard, and the interface map of how everything should work).