UGA Hacks 4 (2019)
My first Hackathon was a great learning experience. With only a few hours of sleep, our computers, and 36 hours, everyone managed to put their ideas into fruition and create awesome products.
The sponsors each offered different challenges, with Fiserv’s being the most appealing one. The challenge was to create software using Fiserv’s Payment API within 36 hours. The team immediately began to work.
First off, a special shoutout to my team who worked tirelessly on this project:
Kam - Front-End Developer
Sana - Back-End Developer
Rachit - Full-Stack Developer
and Me - UI/UX Designer
46% of Americans are spending more than they make each month. With this lack of budgeting, the average person could end up overspending and go in debt.
We decided to build a web app that uses reads a user’s CSV files to manage their expenses, add new ones, and get recommendations on how to better their budgeting. We called it:
My role at the beginning was to visualize how our app would look. With such a small time constraint, I had to quickly ideate with front-end and back-end development to see what designs and features would be capable to add onto the software. The main ideas were:
Create an app that allows users to upload a CSV file of their monthly expenses, automatically turning that into a data visualization that displays and categorizes their expenses.
Allow users to add new expenses into a calculator that recommends how they should re-budget their expenses in order to make room for the new expense. (This was built with an algorithm)
Allow users to pay their bills on a single platform using Fiserv’s API.
The user experience of the app was the biggest challenge. For the developers, uploading the CSV file in order to manage their monthly expenses was the most feasible in terms of time constraints. For a designer, I had to consider the fact that users have varying methods of expense tracking, as well as varying monthly expenses throughout the year. Because we wanted to build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), we decided to go with the CSV file upload.
Additionally, because we were building the MVP on a time constraint, I had to focus my time on designing an efficient app that we could demo. The main aspects to focus on was the information architecture and the visual UI that could be coded by the front-end developer in time.
Although we didn’t win anything, it was a great learning experience in itself. I met some great people and learned more about the interactions between design and code. I believe everyone should not only speak on their ideas, but put them into work. This Hackathon gave me and my teammates to act on this and perfect our craft. Additionally, it taught me the importance of communication, teamwork, confidence, and sleep. Everyone should have fun during this process, so long as you don’t pass out. I loved doing project, and I intend to keep doing more and build new relationships on the road ahead.