We were invited to a pharma/biotech company’s hackathon which aimed at solving big and complex problems identified by the employees.
Please note: all images are anonymised or not directly related to the project due to non-disclosure agreements.
Challenge & team forming
The first few hours of the event were spent introducing the challenges and forming teams. Teams quickly started working together. I was very lucky to belong to a team that was dynamic, knowledgeable (on the process of design and the challenges), extremely committed to succeed and worked well together.
Sticky notes magic
We used sticky notes to simply jot down any ideas on the challenge. This became the basis for our concept. Sticky notes were organised by themes or user journey, which gave us the foundation for our design.
Strong concept supported by visual identity
Once the concept was discussed, challenged and agreed, we picked a project name and brand concept. I quickly created a simple logo as an emblem of our project.
We thought about the best way to reach our project goal and help our chosen audience: a mobile app was the most efficient tool. I sketched screens on paper first, to view the user journey and basic interaction design. The concept needed to be patient focused and accessible to all.
Mentor support & final presentation
Mentors (specialists in their fields) reviewed our work twice a day. We took onboard most of their comments. The team created a presentation while I was finishing the App Prototype with Axure. We gave a 3-minute presentation followed by 5-minute Q&A.
Comments from the jury and mentors on our project:
“You are addressing the 90%”
“The usability of your app is excellent”
“You are really on to something here”
A few lessons learned:
- Do not try to solve problems for everyone, but focus on one type of user and try to help him throughout his journey.
- Work as a team and separately. Brainstorm does not really work, so jot down ideas individually and review together.
- Break the team in smaller groups to work on specific tasks.
- Ideally try to give everyone one role: designer, project manager, writer, presenter etc.
- When presenting, try to be one of the first two teams or one of the last two teams
From a design perspective, this confirmed my knowledge that:
- Design with experts, not in a bubble
- Design as a team, with a common understanding and respect each-other
- Have a team leader who can take decisions if disagreement
Tips and tricks from a design perspective
The app relies heavily on two concepts to keep users engaged:
The trigger/action/invest loop to form habits in users behaviours, from “Hooked” by Nir Eyfal: http://www.nirandfar.com/hooked
Design for emotions: the design used a mascot and warm colors to give the app a strong, loveable personality. Have a look at Aarron Walter’s book on Design for Emotions or read a summary online.