Role in the team

Work with the team (three developers) to define an idea for the hackathon, establish some user needs behind it and then create an interface for the app.

Challenge

Collaborate with developers to build an app in about 12h.

A Design Sprint on steroids

This was an event were I really had to go out of my comfort zone. I like to do that occasionally since it makes me think in different ways, it makes me test myself, specially when under pressure. It also makes me understand my own limits consequently feel confident of myself. In this case one of the biggest challenges was that I knew no one at the event. When I got there I had to go around and talk with multiple teams to see which one would be a fit. I was incredibly lucky to meet the guys with whom I did this project. They are great and it was a lot of fun. We discovered our type of humor was similar and became friends afterwards. I keep the memory of the event as one of the best moments I ever lived in London.

Give me use cases

The all process was a bit like a design sprint on steroids. I also took the chance to discuss their view of possible solutions while quickly sketching (a bit in the dark literaly, since we were at the bar). By doing this right on the "kick-off workshop" I took advantage of the fact that the team was still there to define an idea an not already seated, with assigned tasks and highly focused only on doing code (although they were growing eager to just crack on with it, something I also had to manage).

The first thing I did after we went back to the main room where everyone was working was to quickly sketch some use cases. This allowed the team to share a single vision of what we all wanted to make and also gave a real and "human" side to the technology.

Storybox. A logo.

Speed was everything in this event. It was basically a race. As such some things would have to be left behind. I considered indeed to not dwelve into a logo, but a couple of ideas quickly came into mind and I decided to dedicate a bit of time to sketching and check it's feasibility. I gave myself a timeframe to do so and started exploring. The team helped deciding the direction as I sketched some of the ideas, quickly iterating on them.

The favourite one was the idea of being able to use it as an icon for the play button, as a closed version of the Dropbox logo where the user would tap and thus "open the box" (play the story/video).

The app

To streamline the process as much as possible, so I could provide the assets quickly to the developers (the main focus was having a functional prototype above all) I focused on using a visual language as close to the OS patterns as possible.

I started by defining a basic map of the app and move forward quickly into some slighty more detailed sketched wireframes. Once again, the main focus on the all event was speed. So by sketching the screens I could define with team all the elements as quickly as possible so when I'd jump into digital I could focus only on the grid, the balance, the proportions, the fonts and the colours.

Final details on the Storybox concept

Almost at the end of the 12 hour sprint, while the developers were racing with technical tweaks to the final prototype and didn't needed me constantly, I decided to illustrate the concept a bit further by creating some fictional ads to use i.e. in editorial.

A leap of faith

The hackathon started at the end of the day. A workday. I jumped straight into it right after leaving the office at the end of quite an hectic day. Adding to this I also didn't knew anyone at the event. A lot of doubts made me think about just going home a couple of times before meeting the Storybox team. Specially when I was faced with an industrial warehouse full of developers coding in full speed under a party/club lights and music. A room full of developers that I had to reach out to until I'd find a team that would be a fit for me.

At the end of the event I was having so much fun I didn't even noticed how incredibly tired I was. I had made new friends, had a lot of laughs and discovered once again that doing something I love makes me go beyond my physical limits. But most of all I helped building a fully functional prototype for a crazy cool concept in under twelve hours.