Product Designer
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Space Apps

A digital experience for a real world global event.

NASA Space Apps Challenge

Creating a comprehensive online experience to ease planning and organization of a real world event.


Each year NASA hosts a global hackathon, inviting members of the public from wildly diverse backgrounds to use NASA's open data and solve challenges composed by NASA's top scientists and researchers. Chalk + Chisel was tasked with designing and developing a online platform that would enable communication between Challenge writers, location hosts, and participants.


The homepage was frequently updated throughout the lifecycle of the Space Apps Challenge. As hosts updated their location pages, pins dropped on the interactive map. A greeting to users changed as the event got closer, giving users the option to sign up for the event. During the event, users not attending in person could view a live feed from a selected number of Challenge locations.

Of greatest concern to the NASA stakeholders of the event, was the lack of a centralized location for location hosts to build their event page and share up-to-date information to the location participants. The newly redesigned location pages allow for hosts to easily create an event page, and update it as needed. Participants can see a list of other participants at their location, and begin forming their project solution team.

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Projects must be made in response to a specific challenge. After the hackathon, participants must create a solution page for their project. A select number of projects are awarded a global award nomination or people's choice nomination. The public were invited to vote from the people's choice nominees, and the winning project is available to view in NASA's Innovation Space.


Internal Project Rating Tool

Location hosts are tasked with reviewing projects and selecting those to be considered for Global Awards and People's Choice. Before Chalk + Chisel’s new design, this process was done via email and Excel spreadsheets. Having an online centralized location for nominating and voting streamlined the process of reviewing hundreds of projects.



Working closely with the Project Strategist, we developed user flows for the main experiences of the multiple features of the site as the event progressed. First, we had a whiteboarding session, using the Core Model to determine paths into and out of the known pages of the site. It was from this collaborative process that we were able to define the many user types, and determine how best to meet their needs, determine how best to meet their needs, all while keeping the business goals in mind. After user flows and whiteboard sketches, I set out working on wireframes as a tool to communicate the intent of each page for both the developers and the client.