Get everyone on the team involved in interface design and be prepared to be surprised with the creativity you unleash. You are guaranteed to uncover better design ideas than if you did it all yourself.
Useful for getting input and agreement from the whole team
For teams of software developers, the technique has several benefits:
- Everyone on the team can propose new ideas, regardless of their graphical skills
- The group moves from individual ideas to consensus
- People gain understanding of why certain ideas may or may not work
- Everyone feels like they were involved in design decisions
Turn your ideas into designs
Choose a problem area to focus on, and provide some context (what is the scenario, who is the user). If you are doing this design charrette work as part of a design thinking exercise, it follows on nicely from the persona and scenario creation work the team will just have performed.
The charrette will take about one hour per problem area. If you're not already in a design thinking workshop style environment, book a meeting and ask people to come to the meeting with a sketch of their idea. People should spend no more than an hour on their sketches, and normally much less time.
If you're in a workshop environment, get people to spend ten to fifteen minutes sketching. The sketch can be UI, a comic book/storyboard, or anything else that gets an interaction idea across. Artistic ability isn’t important.
|Storyboarding, sketching, using iPhone interface templates, and presenting ideas in a charrette|
After each presentation, spend just a few minutes discussing the idea that was presented.
- Critique the concept, not the drawing ability or individual
- Point out areas that won't work (maybe using a list of heuristics)
- Highlight good ideas
- Praise original thought - unusual suggestions improve the creativity of the final solution
Once every idea has been presented and critiqued, put all the sketches up on the wall (with their sticky notes attached), grouped by similarity of ideas. Now everyone “dot votes” the concepts to determine the best ideas.
At this point, you can choose one of three options:
- Do another round of individual sketching, where each person incorporates elements of everyone else's ideas, followed by another group critique session.
- Create a sketch as a team that incorporates the best ideas (if you have a small team).
- A smaller group can take all the good ideas and create a new summary sketch.
Output isn't supposed to be a finished UI. Instead, it documents the key elements of the interaction so that team members can agree on what it is they'll be building to resolve the initial problem. UI design happens in the next step - paper prototyping.
A technique with a very creative historyDesign charrettes have long been a tool for architects and urban planners. In fact, the term originates from 19th century student architects at the Ecole Des Beaux-Arts in Paris, who would frantically collaborate on their homework in the carriage (charrette) on their way to school.