Well, hello there! Long time no see. Yeah. Sorry about the year-long hiatus, I had to get some stuff sorted out.
Anyway, I’m now living in Lancaster in the UK’s frozen North (winter is coming), and I have a job as an actual designer! How exciting. I’ll update you on some of the projects I’ve been working on in due course, but right now I want to tell you about another thing I’m doing.
If you’re not a huge nerd like what I am, you may not even know what a hack day is. It may conjure strange images of darkened rooms (true), and shady people (occasionally also true), attempting to crack secret databases wide open (also true) in some sort of semi-illegal manner (hah! wrong!).
Sadly for those of you who crave danger, they’re completely above board. In the case of #hack4good, which must be my favourite ‘cos my last post a year ago was about them too, they’re dedicated to solving some of the world’s most difficult problems. Last year for me it was refugee camps — sadly still with us and growing in number every day — and this year was a real doozy. Climate change.
Whew. Talk about a big ask. As with any other problem, though, it’s easier to look at it you break it down a bit. The challenge I joined was called Learn, Pledge, Challenge. Their idea was threefold (as you can probably tell).
- Point 1) People in general don’t know enough about climate change — so we need a way to teach them (Learn)
- Point 2) We need to get really serious about this. So let’s have people make solemn promises — though ones they can actually keep. (Pledge)
- Point 3) People also don’t have any idea what practical things they can individually do to help climate change. So lets Challenge them to find something they can do and stick to, and donate to charity while they’re at it.
All very worthy. But, as we thought about it, maybe a bit *too* worthy. After all, when people get fired up about thing like a lot of people did over the ALS Icebucket challenge, then generally, the learning comes after the fact (I’m sure some people who donated still don’t know anything about ALS), and the promising bit.. well it isn’t any fun unless you a) involve your friends and b) are doing something ridiculous.
So we changed it — to a challenge and forfeit game. It’s currently called We Promise, but we think that’s probably still a bit worthy, so we’re going to change it. To what? Well, watch this space. First, watch this video I made:
And here’s the website we made — We Promise — in 48 and a bit hours straight — and some screenshots of my prototype designs. What do you think? The judges seemed to think it was a bit of all right — we got into the Grand Final! How exciting. We didn’t win, but it was one hell of an experience. And the team who brought me in — Tom, Marvin and Greg — were all amazing coders. And James, our scientific advisor, has a great grasp of climate change psychology which really helps with crafting the user experience.