Days 7 & 8- Hackathon

So there weren’t as many pictures over the course of these two days and the project my team made may be seen on Otto’s or Reggie’s blogs but I didn’t have any pictures at the moment and I haven’t had the chance to look at other blogs just yet! I will do less of a detailed post about the two days because that could make this longer than the kew gardens post with my memory for details… Instead I will talk generally about the experience and our final project.

Starting off you’re placed into random groups assigned by our coordinator Alex (not to be confused with our persona character). Umass lowell was lucky enough to have groups of 2-3 students per group except brave Ashley who was somehow in her own group with at least 8 or more other people! My group was one of the two smallest groups of only 6 people. Me Reggie and Otto then a women named Anna, Ye Han, and a man named David. They were total strangers but seeing Reggie and Otto’s names I felt our group still had a great chance despite being half the size of other groups! Now the more generalizing part I’m trying to get to.

The first process was to learn things from tables and report back to your groups and to accumulate it all into a general idea of the direction we were going to head into. The problem we had to solve was to help a friend of a depressed person understand or see the signs of depression in their friends. So we created a persona named Alex who was gender fluid and had a depressed friend. Now here’s there the team had to talk things out a lot. We needed ideas on where to head and I felt as if when our team got side tracked I was always able to speak up and hold my ground and aim us in the direction I felt we needed to go into. This became one of my greatest lessons and despite the long hours discussing it was one of my favorite parts of this experience. Everyone especially Ye Han and Anna had a certain idea they wanted to be touched upon more or completely. And I would stop the bickering settle us down and give each person more of what they wanted to hear to be able to narrow things further. I’d  explain others ideas when someone didn’t fully know how to articulate them to someone who didn’t understand. It may be how I’m remembering it but a great deal of the ideas in the final project were ether mine or refined by me before being proceeded with.

Day 2 it was on us to be the designers of our project for the prototype. So we invented ChatCloud (named by Otto) and the exact pitch for our presentation is not with me so I’ll summarize it for this post. ChatCloud is an app that combines all texting apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, and Messenger, into one app that you can read in one place. It used an overall data scanning technology to give a graph of positive and negative based off the linked social media and biometrics to determine if a person is showing signs of depression. It then would alert a friend to invite their friend to play a game with them that is built into the app and possibly give a subtle message about knowledge of depression or early signs of it. The game included is a augmented reality game that allows you to place an augmented item in a digital space using a camera like how snapchat uses filters. The other player had to find the item using their camera and it can be a redeemable thing such as a Starbucks gift voucher. This evolved into a game that you could make your own avatar and when you’re in the game alone you can see other peoples avatars by turning the camera on and a username but no additional information. It would be a completely safe environment and promotes the physical activity of walking around and socializing with friends by playing the game together. The app was designed to battle the early signs of depression and to re-educate and reprogram people into being more social and active. When texting the background would actually have a blurred picture of your camera and we showed a preview of this in our design which was for sure my idea lol. Some complained about battery life but really I didn’t think limiting ourselves was going to help us.

Since I didn’t have a computer with me Otto and Reggie did most of the physical design work. I showed Reggie my process of app making, which ended up taking us a long time being a bit rusty with summer and all, to make the perfect texting screen. But it was so satisfying to see what we had pictured in our heads and pieced it together into an InVision protype. Teaching one on one is something I definitely enjoy and it was exciting to see someone who was equally as passionate about app design as me. Now during all of this we had to have a 5 minute presentation to show off our work and our idea. Our team was stubborn with shrinking the time down from 7 minutes so the last minute before presenting things changed. Because of the chaos the screen me and Reggie made wasn’t shown but just finishing everything was a relief in itself and there were no worries. I didn’t present so I stayed for the questions panel and I further explained part of our app that was missing in the presentation. I thought I was shaking like a leaf as I usually do during presenting but I was told I didn’t which I found surprising. It must have been because I was too overtired to shake. Overall this was an amazing opportunity to meet new people and experience how a firm would work in the real world and I loved every minute of it. Our team didn’t win but that’s okay my friends teams did!