Design is not a rigid structure with steps to follow, rather a path that you discover as you traverse through a project. But since we had only two days worth of time to submit a solution, we went ahead with the tried and tested Design Thinking approach. It comprised of the following stages: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test.
At this stage, it was important to have a basic tangible solution in place that can be shipped in less than 24 hours so that the concept can be conveyed to the stakeholders (judges of the hackathon). The focus was on the overall flow. So, I started building high-fidelity wireframes. Design artefacts from this phase are illustrated below.
As time constraints did not allow for a full-fledged usability testing, we determined five parameters that would define our success criteria. At the end, we measured FLARE against these parameters:
1. Fit: Whether the final product fit the problem statement that we started with.
- The overall aim was to solve a problem which is commonly faced by the student community. FLARE targets an issue that almost every student has experienced in their academic journey.
2. Innovation: Whether the solution can be termed as a new approach.
- The existing platforms (provided by the University) that allow students to register for collegiate events and connect with alumni, were either cumbersome, outdated or discontinued. FLARE is a new and fun way of achieving these goals.
3. Functionality: Is the product robust and is it capable of serving the purpose?
- The University had separate web applications for event management and connecting with alumni. FLARE provides all this packaged as one mobile application, in a user friendly and intuitive manner.
4. Design: Is the product visually appealing and aesthetic in nature?
- The look and feel of the application is quite fresh, refreshing and welcoming in nature, unlike conventional University platforms.
5. Extensibility: Whether the solution has scope for expansion within the same or different domains.
- There is plenty of scope for extending the functionality of this solution. We came up with a future roadmap for FLARE (depicted below).
Hackathons are always fun and they teach you a million things. This one taught me the value of stepping up and believing in my potential, in times of dire need. (some key takeaways mentioned ahead)
Result: We won the first runners up position.
Be assertive and back your decisions especially when everything seems directionless!
Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes smart work can beat hard work.
Collaboration is the key when you want to make a successful product.