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So I was picked today as a participant for a 24 hour hackathon, I tried to read couple of articles on how to get ready, some of them offered some quality insights but most of them were just about how to get along in the teams and they were almost only purely UX hackathons. I will be in group with Product Manager, Scrum Master, Business Developer and Software Engineer.

I am looking for an advice on how would you choose the right approach on such short given period of time. I know it is different from project to project but how would you for example go with Empathizing and Testing stage when you have only 24 hours to come up with a MVP.

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I guess it depends on the project that you decide to work on, but I don't know exactly what a 'pure' UX hackathon is exactly and how it is different from other types of hackathons. Typically a UX designer would fill in one or more of the design, testing, facilitating or research tasks.

For empathizing (research) and testing, if you pick a project where you or people in the team also happen to be potential users, then you can try and test on yourself or other team members, or even people in other teams.

In terms of an approach, a 24 hour hackathon is about half the amount of time for a typical 48 hour hackathon, so you basically have to try and halve the time that you spend on things. Not only that, there is the added pressure that if you want to pivot then it will put your team under even more pressure so it meas you either have to fail even faster and change early or just try to stick to it and do the best you can.

However, the flip side is that the focus will be more on the pitch and how you tell the story of the project rather than the actual output, which means you can put your storytelling skills to great use and add a lot of extra value to the team.

  • Thanks for the answer! By purely UX hackathons I meant that they were describing hackathons where only UX designer took part in whereas here I will be only one UXer in team without any product designer as well. So it's kind of difficult for me to imagine how should I run proper user/market research while at the same time design a solution in 24hours. How would you for example kick off ideation phase? I was thinking about "design studio" approach where everybody comes up with solution in 5 minutes and we take turns presenting and giving feedback. – Vítek Linhart Sep 9 '18 at 11:52
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    @VítekLinhart certainly if you can try to share the workload then it will be more manageable on your part. Participatory design or co-design will allow people to contribute to ideas while at the same time allow you to gain insights into how people think and bring out certain issues. It is rare to be able to do 'proper' research and designs can be low fidelity if the developer has a good understanding of UI design principles or if you are use design frameworks. Not sure what a product designer normally does in a hackathon but usually there is only one designer in a hackathon team anyway. – Michael Lai Sep 9 '18 at 12:26
  • So @VítekLinhart, are you saying this hackathon has no developers? It's just research and design? Interesting idea. – Ken Mohnkern Sep 10 '18 at 15:58
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Usually you have process like;

a) Paper sketches
b) Low fidelity prototypes
c) High fidelity prototypes
d) Design

I saw a good idea - you make paper sketches in a way there is sketch for each template and even some functionalities like pop ups, and then ask participant to click on the paper with his finger. Then you move to the appropriate template / paper.
This way you eliminate basic errors.
Then from that point you can move to i.e. something thats in between high fidelity prototype and design and test again in some software like Invision.

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