How not to win a hackathon and build a great product at the same time? (Part 4)

The next morning we came to see that some people were sleeping under their desks and others were working on their projects as mad… Should we worry or what?

But we have the best team ever! What could possibly go wrong?

Also, throughout the hackathon we had everything we needed:

  • Full board of breakfast, lunch, dinner, endless amount of coffee, smoothies and people from Red Bull giving away beverage from time to time.
  • Yoga classes, movie night and board games that the organizers provided for us as recreational activities.
  • We were able to rent for free(!) a Google Home, an Amazon Echo, a Leap Motion, several Arduinos, Fitbit smartwatches and other cool stuff, in case we might need any of those for our project (we didn’t, but we did rent some anyway).

So, you can see, we could fully focus on the work.

The tasks were clear:

  • The girls had to do the UX and come up with feature ideas, bearing in mind that there were functions that could be used before, during and after a phone call.
  • The guys would decide/judge if our ideas were feasible then develop and test them.

Easy-peasy. But it took a hell lot of work!

We wanted the product to be as usable as possible, and finally we could start to work on how to make it happen.

It is certainly true that all of us are making phone calls, so — UX-ishly speaking — now that we had the brief, we could start to use a loose version of the Jobs-To-Be-Done method for all the way through to halfway of the second diamond.

Panna suggested that we should use post-its and come up with real-life situations of typical phone call situations where a virtual assistant could be useful. After, we made nice, colourful groups of the post-its.

Then we started to write the actual conversations.


  • An official conversation with a headhunter where they use timer, take notes, exchange currency, check calendar, add event to calendar and save contact during call.
  • An unofficial conversation where the virtual assistant sends you a notification before the call that the one who calls has birthday that day, so you can send a voicemoji for her, check your calendar and create an event.

I suppose everyone has heard about GDPR for now. We knew that we had to find a way that our product would comply with the rules. In other words, our virtual assistant should be able to listen to the conversation but could not record any part of it without the consent of both parties. Still, we had to make sure that the assistant “knew” what the current task was, didn’t misunderstand and didn’t miss a task. Eventually, we were able to solve it. Well, the developer guys were able to solve it…

Some of the technologies that have been used on the way:

Everything was going well, and the next step would be that we had to come up with an activating expression that the speech-to-text interpreter would understand, that was unique, gave you good feelings and was easy enough to say.

Should it somehow refer to Nokia or not? Neither Alexa, nor Siri does refer to their companies… but Google do… so hey Nokia or not hey Nokia, that was the question.

To be continued…