HCExperience = ?
Background: I went to HackCambridge 2016 with my team. The venue was awesome, the town was peaceful and the people there were innovative. But what could go wrong?
(This article only represents my own opinions and has no relation to any organizations I'm currently working for.)
HCExperience is the name of a game that we built at HackCambridge. The game starts with a short introduction and a never-stop-running Joe Nash (@jna_sh) chasing a flying Wi-Fi signal. Just imagine this picture, you may guess that it's sort of issues with Wi-Fi (or maybe you've heard of it from others). So yes the inspiration of this game was just from the "Horrible Connectivity Experience".
What happened at the beginning was, hundreds of people gathered, sat down in a theater and halted the Wi-Fi network and this situation had lasted for at least 4 hours. With efforts made by the hardworking organizers, the situation got improved.
Now think about what you would do when you were browsing webpages and your Wi-Fi was flashing around. I bet you wouldn't open things like annoying floating ads, someone else's selfies and etc. If you accidentally opened these, you'd get raged and probably there wouldn't be any more chance for you to open the correct webpage.
So let's go back to HCExperience. We simulated this kind of situations with emojis. There are three groups of emojis, BAD, GOOD and SPAM. Those emojis will randomly appear on the screen and you will need to choose "GOOD" emojis. If you respond too late, (just like you get offline because of the Wi-Fi), or you clicked on any "BAD" or "SPAM" emojis, your rage will go up. On the contrary, the number of correctly-opened pages will increase until you reach the required number, which will lead you to success. Game is over when your rage blows up.
As your level goes up, the responding time will significantly become less and that means you have to act fast and accurately enough to be successful. This is just about to recreate the feeling when you play flappy bird ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .
Now, there's more HCExperience. I mean, Horrible Cambridge Experience.
As a first-time organizer, I must admit that they've done a great job. But there are a lot of things that can be improved. Something basic like, bottled water should be provide. Hackers just don't like walking around and wasting time looking for water everywhere in the venue.
Organizers should also consider more about the beauty of the food. The fact is, we do love hot food, but not "liquid food". When everything is "blended" together, chicken, rice, even "Chinese medicine" (something tastes really bad, cannot just be swallowed and fell into pieces..), the experience just gets worse.
Also we were really upset when knowing the fact that the way they chose to judge was through the "expo". (What "expo" means here is that each team picks a table in the venue and waits for people to "visit" then pitch their idea, like, a thousand times.) The whole 24 hours were so tiring and usually hackers just want the event to finish as soon as possible (this is what I feel like), but assuring their work being presented and assessed in a proper way. In my mind, every single team who submit their hack should have the chance to present their product to all other people just once. Expo is just tiring, you have to either walk around and listen to other teams' pitches, or stand at your place and pitch thousands of times to people, both consuming more energy and making you crash badly.
The last but not least, was about how well-organized this event was. People may say, "oh, it's pretty well-organized coz everything before the event was smooth, they got so many sponsors providing many prizes, although there was just a little issue with the network" but I'd say, it's not well-organized, it's almost a disaster. What I saw was people from different organizations, wearing different t-shirts walked onto the stage and took the microphone just like in an American airport. I saw MLH people running around, "taking over" and caring about the mess that the organizers couldn't solve. What could I say now, was probably the lenny face. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It is exiciting to hear that it was their first time organizing the hackathon, but can they just explain the words "user experience" first?