UCD Charrette Process Blog #1

What did we do?

This week in our charrette we developed a car interface specially designed for a designated group of people. First, we brainstormed different groups of people who would need specialized interfaces for driving.

Next, each group got one of these groups of people and started thinking about a situation in which they would need to use a specialized interface and choose one that works best. The group that I was a part of was assigned a pregnant woman and the situation we chose was that she needed to go to the hospital. In order to create an optimal car interface for this lady, we decided that voice commands would work best since we wanted to create an interface that would need as little physical effort as possible.

Finally, we created a comic strip of the situation and the lady using the interface, created an interaction flow about how our interface works, and sketched the actual interface screens the pregnant lady would be using. After this was done, we presented our idea to the class.

Reflection

During this charrette my group and I faced a few a challenges going from brainstorming a specialized person that drives to creating an interface for them to use and presenting it. The biggest challenge of all seemed to be time. Since each step of the process was timed, it was difficult to come up with an idea out of no where, and develop it into a concept. This was especially apparent when we had to create and design our own user interface screens in 10 minutes. This makes me think, “What could we have done if we had more time?” Overall though, I think in future charrettes we will be more prepared for time crunches due to this first charrette.

What I liked about the Project

I liked this project for many reasons, but most of all I liked it because of all the brainstorming that was involved in it. I found thinking of ideas for various things like specific groups of people that drive and the different tasks that they might do especially fun because I would have no time to second guess myself, I would just have to run with the idea. I also liked the brainstorming involved with the interaction flow and interface design because it involved a different form of brainstorming. Instead of thinking of as many ideas as possible, we would have to quickly choose an idea and further add onto it until it was a finished concept.

Applying this Project to the Future

The techniques that we used throughout this project does not only apply to creating car interfaces, they can be applied to the design of other things as well. For example, if I wanted to create a board game I would still do the processes of finding my target audience, brainstorming ideas about what that audience needs in a game, create an interaction flow of how the game works, and finally creating a concept for this game. Overall, it seems like the design work we did in this charrette is good at designing things for a specific group of people, but not necessarily larger populations as a whole. An example of this would be designing a smartphone. You would no longer design for specific group of people like a pregnant mom, you would have to create a design that works for everyone since most cellphones are used by a wide variety of people. This would also mean that there would be many more use cases for this device than if you were designing for a set group of people. If I was to design a cell phone just for kids, I would just have make it strong and simple. This is not the case though because this phone would also have to work for businessmen, construction workers, teachers, etc. Overall, if you were to design a product for the general population you would need a different design technique.

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