Design a Hackathon Platform to where
We first did some generative research to learn about the problem space and our target users. I was actively involved in all parts.
To quickly get on board with this domain, we utilized a wide range of resources, including friends who have participated in Hackathons, online videos (Youtube), as well as asking our colleagues to participate in Hackathons on renowned platforms like HackerEarth, HackerRank etc. We quickly learned lots of jargon, which helped us to communicate with our interviewees later.
STAKE HOLDER INTERVIEWS
We interviewed our target users as well as 22 stakeholders.
Knowing who some of our target users are, we interviewed them as well as we interviewed stakeholders and proxy users to understand the need of Organizers and Assessors. A technique we used with extremely busy interviewees is to bring pre-made artifacts like customer journey maps for them to correct.
We learned about the organizer's and assessor's day-to-day work, like people they work with, a typical workflow, and their digital workspace. The key user needs we identified includes: consume information rapidly and collaborate/evaluate efficiently.
If you can make generating report easier, I'll be VERY happy.
We observed the hackathon organized internally in our office. While observing, we used the AEIOU framework to focus around activities (A), events (E), interactions (I), objects (O), and users (U). We discovered several pain points that was not revealed in our interviews. One manager even directly tell us "If you can make evaluting and generating reports easier, I'll be VERY happy."
Brainstorm and decide on design features
We brainstormed after reviewing all our previous findings, and decided on 3 topics with multiple ideas for each, along with 3 other ideas that can solve crucial problems. The 3 topics are: "grab attention", "drive action", and "customization". The 3 other features are: "report building", "smart searching", and "easier collaboration".
Storyboarding helped us validate and refine ideas in contexts.
Then we separately sketched our ideas for each topic and compiled them into a user story. Through an internal critique, we integrated our parallel designs into one set. Storyboarding not only helped us validate the ideas in the context, but also helped everyone in the team be on the same page.
Testing directed us the way to narrow down and improve our designs.
We tested our prototypes with Developers, Assessors and Product Managers. This helped us narrowed down on the designs (e.g., the floating box minimized view versus the sidebar design.), and fixed details that needed more work (e.g., Grading Hackathons and summarized reports). In general, the feedback validated the needs we identified previously.
We gained our understanding of the problem space and target users through 30 interviews and shadowings. Combined with the abundant case studies we did in different domains, we generated our design ideas. Through 3 rounds, in total 22 testings, we refined and validated our design guidelines and prototypes.