Hi, I’m Emma…but you can call me Spicy Carrot. I’m a Human-Centered Designer for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory with a never-ending passion for usability in the Motorsports space. I’ve studied Automotive UX, or User eXperience, and now I study Aerospace UX (including autonomy) and with this unique combo, I aim to make this industry a more driver-centered place. This focus, in tandem with engineering, is how the driver achieves maximum efficiency while not sacrificing an ounce of vehicle performance and in many cases all while preserving the vehicle’s DNA or historical lineage.
I can recall the first time a car stood out to me. I was six years old, sitting in the backseat of my parent’s Volvo 740, watching all the cars drive by us on the nighttime drive. I started learning to recognize cars by their tail lights, and I found an appreciation for how the same message was always instantly received regardless of the varying designs.
I didn’t really explore this space until college, but ever since, I’ve had quite a healthy obsession with learning how to further synergize the driving experience. It is my hope that you, too, will feel the same way.
So, what is HCD anyway? In a nutshell, Human Centered Design is the art of making things make sense. It’s a cross-pollination of Design, Psychology, and Systems Engineering.
Is it the same as engineering? No, there are some very stark differences, but both are highly technical in their own merits. That being said, engineering is “car first, driver second” by its very nature. With HCD, there is no order. The idea is they go hand-in-hand. Think of us as therapists between the user and the product. We aim to enhance the relationship.