Hackathon 2020

Team: Muhan Liu(HCI student)
         Michele Carli(Industrial                   design student)
         FedericaRolunno(Cognitive               science student)
         Mattia Satori(ICT student)
         Marco Bonora(CS student)

Duration: 24 hours
My Role: UX designer; presenter
Keyword: Qualntatitive research
             Design sprint
             Design thinking                         


  • During the pandemics, most of the lessons held online, including laboratory lessons.

  • The goal of this Hackathon is to explore a creative way to make online learning more interactive and engaging

What we did?


User Research



Brain storm





  • Multidisciplinary students communication and cooperation

  • Group leading

  • Limited time

01 User research

We started by finding problems towards remote learning particularly under laboratory settings.

Because of Corona situation, we all became users of online learning tools, so I did 2 interviews with my classmates 

We talked about what they like about online learning and what they don't. From their response, I followed up with some questions, for example:

  • " Do you think zoom is enough for you or what else cooperative tools do you need?",

  • "What you wish you could achieve from online learning?"

  • "If you could choose, you prefer online learning or in-presence? "

  • "What do you like about learning online?"

  • "When do you need collaborative tools in online learning?"

  • "What impact do you observe on team experiences when you are online learning?"

  • "What are the problems you met during online lab lectures?"

  • "What do you expect to see from remote learning in the future?"

  • We also made a google questionnaire 3 days before the Hackathon's official start date, creating with 31 questions (Likert questions, open-ended questions, multiple-choice questions) asking about users' attitude to current online study platforms such as Zoom, google meet


  • We tried to investigate the insights of what users need and what satisfied their needs so far on the market.and we also tried to gather information from professors and other stakeholders




We got 97 responses from students

  • From the User research, we found the satisfaction level with Zoom and other collaborative online tools are unexpectedly high, but single use is not sufficient. In the case of Zoom, it allows group discussion, but unable to allow collaborative working such as post-its which Mural website does

  • From Professor side, they often complain can't get feedback from students because all the cameras are off

  • From student side, they become more sensitive to professor's response if they ask a stupid question which in a way make the interaction not smoothly


Our brain storm process on Mural

WeChat Screenshot_20201204214340.png

02 Brain Storm

03 Prototyping

  • In the main room, it's zoom-like. We add anonymous reactions to encourage feedback from students. There's a dynamic panel in the center, Slide left, it goes into the white board room. In the white board room, it allows a collaborative brainstorm. Slide left again, enter 3D lab room. In the 3D lab room, our purpose is to show students clear lab devices from professor's vision. And add interactive questions or other forms of interactive activities.

  • Instant message by the sidebar.

  • As noticed there's a coffee room in the bottom bar. In the Coffee room, people could chat with the camera on and off, in the meanwhile, they can mute the classroom, but can also see what's going on there. We want to create a natural class break as we used to do with coffee.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif (2).gif


Schermata 2020-11-13 alle 11.29.19.png

We stuck in BrainStorm for 7 hours. 

We were inspired by many amazing initiatives, 3D and AR, VR is the most-in-use to solve the engaging and interactive problems for remote learning particularly in a laboratory setting.

But in the meanwhile, we also want to find a profound idea that it's accessible to most of the students and easy to release to the market as well.


We were 5 people in the team, 3 of us agree on a grounded idea such as Zoom 2.0 version, 2 agree on VR, AR which gives a dramatic vision of technology. 

The grounded group thought the other group's idea is already on the market such as a VR lab, we were busy convincing each other. As time pass by, we were all became impatient and changed in temper. 

I'm the only person in the group who doesn't speak Italian, there was a moment that everyone was tired of the second language-English,  and they started explaining in Italian, telling me this would be efficient to convince the other group...

After 7 hours, nothing had been accomplished, outside was already dark. We even tried: The minority obeying the majority, but the 2 people still don't want to give up on their ideas. We were all in silence, and don't know what to do. I decided to ask for help from tutors.

There came a tutor who is a professor at the university teaching HCI(Human-Computer Interaction). He told us "it seems no one would like to compromise their idea, but think in the big picture, if you don't agree on the idea, what you can do to add your idea to the compromised idea? And a lot of times, you think the minority wins but indeed you as a group, lose."

We were all speechless, and start thinking together to solve the problem. We spoke out our bad emotions and had a dinner break to recharge. It felt like a peaking point in the movie where all the characters get back together.

We came back with a different attitude which we all want the group to be better not the success of individuals.

After a very long brainstorm, we finally came to our idea: Combine zoom and other collaborative online tools, form into our version. We have 4 main features on our application: Private instant messaging, Stick-posts board, 3D lab, Coffee room.


  • The low-fi prototype used Axure as follows:

It's my first time to do a Hackathon fully online, from group formation to Pitch.

I enjoyed this design sprint with people whom I've never met before. 

During the group discussion, we spent a lot of time on debating our ideas, we have a different background, someone doubt about the technical part, someone doesn't satisfy with the idea. We learned how to make a compromise and contribute on adding our ideas to make a better result in order to process the progress.

I learned a lot from group work, about communication, contribution, time-management, public speaking etc.