My First Hackathon

Election HackathonThis past weekend, I went to the Washington Post’s Election Hackathon. I hadn’t been to one before, but my friend Oscar had the idea that it would be a good way to possibly get a little more exposure for Musketeers.me. If nothing else, we’d get a nice portfolio piece.

CandiData.me: Get information about 2012 US national candidatesAnd we did indeed: Candidata.me. Check out Oscar’s piece on its creation and some ideas for going forward. It was a good example for how quickly you can get a site together using Treb, the framework we built for mojoLive.

We didn’t win, partially as there were some really awesome ideas done by others at the hackathon, but partially because we misjudged the criteria for the site and provided something potentially useful but stopped early to polish it rather than really digging into the APIs to uncover some insights. With only a few hours of designer assistance from Kevin, the polish worked well, but the judges went for incomplete ideas with potential. As the Musketeer with the occasional appellation “product guy,” ultimately that’s my fault. On the other hand, I got to dust off some programming chops that had been put on the shelf while I pursued funding at mojoLive and gladhanded for clients for the Musketeers.

Presenting CandiData.me

We did get selected to present our app. You can totally identify Oscar, right?

One other note: Oscar will expand on it, but I think we did demonstrate good principles if you’re going to design something to be responsive: keep the design clean with simple boxes and rows that could reflow rather than try to replicate the report-ish layout that websites have aspired to since the 90s and that are the bane of the nonprofit world. The site still looks good on a desktop browser, but it also works really well on an iPhone.

Design for your medium, people. Don’t try to force it to be something it’s not. And as “product guy” I will take a little credit for that part.

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One Response to My First Hackathon

  1. Pingback: Building CandiData | Bytes in the Margin

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