UCD Charrette Process Blog

Our task was to design a smart vehicle interface for a specific group of people. Our group, me Carry and Cynthia, chose to design a car interface that is especially tailored for pregnant women. We Started by creating a scenario: a pregnant woman who is about give birth while driving. With that in mind, we came up with creative solutions and sketched it out. After sketching out the scenario, we laid out an interaction flow, which is a step-by-step diagram showing how the user gets through a task on the interface, and, in this case, is how the woman can get safe from an emergency. Finally, we sketched out the user interface screen that matches the interaction flow. In the interface we designed, in times of emergency, all the user needs to do is simply to touch the “SOS” button under the module that designed for pregnant women. The system will automatically inform the nearest hospital and her family members and then the seat will be adjusted to the most comfortable position; if she still can drive, the GPS will guide her to the nearest hospital.

Emergency Screen Designed for Pregnant Women

What I want to explore more about this project in future is the “prototyping” part of the product we designed. It would be great to create a prototype of our design and evaluate on it. One problem that we encountered is when designing the interface, we had conflict opinion towards whether to create an alarm light outside of the car to inform other drivers as well as pedestrians. Because the alarm light is visually not pretty, and a pregnant woman will only demand special care for up to 10 months, we don’t want an alarm light on top of the car forever, so finally we decided not to have the alarm light.

What I like about this project is that it is designed for pregnant women, because I always wanted to design something for this speicial group. In my opinion, pregnant women are a special group that demands care not only from the society, but also from those frequently used facilities around them. I have rarely seen a product that is well designed for this group so, in this project, I’m glad to design a car interface for them. Another thing I like about this interface is that, other than the emergency screen, we also created modules that expectant moms can use in everyday, such as a special music module that provides prenatal education music and food module that storages nutritious diets for them.

This design studio has allowed me to apply what I learned from lectures and books into a practical design process. Those design terms and definitons that I have been looking at became part of my experience. Also, in my previous designing experience, we usually have up to a month for a project, whereas “charrette” is an intense design activity in which a product is designed in a very short amount of time. I feel like “charrette” is a very productive process where great ideas can be created into porotypes in just a few hours, which I will definitely apply in my future design experiences. Other than “charrtte”, there are also a few valuable design tools that I learned from this studio experience, like: designers usually use sticky notes to record their brainstorm ideas and display them on a whiteboard to consolidate the related ones; also the interaction flow is a great technique to organize our initial ideas and put them in order.