User Centered Design Charrette


Our task was to design smart vehicle mechanisms that would help improve the experience of specific drivers. Within 80 minutes, each of us worked in three different groups for three different users/products respectively.

Brainstorming with a team member.

Our goal was to showcase our ability to design by placing a user’s “wants, needs, and limitations at the forefront of the design process”.

My Users –

1. Hearing impaired: Heightened visuals, less sound-reliant

2. Pet Owners: Easy to clean, large space, cameras

3. Elderly: Driving aids, assisting visuals/reflexes, “smart” driving

Our designs for a light-up side mirror, as well as wheel readjustment to avoid a collision.

For the “Elderly”, my group and I designed side-mirrors that would alert the user whether they were clear to turn/merge while signaling, with a sensor that would halt turning if they were not.

Problems Encountered

A glaring problem that I encountered was disagreement or inaction among group members. When you’re presented with a hypothetical problem within such a small time frame, it is important to recognize that your solution may be equally as hypothetical, and therefore unbounded.

It was hard getting the specific “hows” out of the way, but once we did, I felt like a mental barrier had been removed. I believe taking the over-the-top ideas in consideration when designing is not a flaw; the pieces eventually fall together, and I am excited to explore my bounds further into the course.

Now What; Future Foresights

This was my first group-based experience with User Centered Design. I do believe an argument can be made which places UCD at the forefront of product success. Without putting a user’s preconditions first, product development doesn’t have clear direction. Identifying the target user, their needs, and a solution seem to be clear first steps of design processing, and follow through with the “Human Centered” part of HCDE.

Although the Charrette was broad in this instance, and I didn’t get a chance to put my full focus into one product, I see myself actively working on the specifics and producing a product that not only caters to one user, but to multiple users as well. An example would be a smart car that is flexible enough for parents with small children, but that appeals to the younger population as well. This, I believe, would be a powerful and fun challenge — one that would test the limits of my creativity, while also attempting to succeed through multiple forms of user satisfaction.

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