The last week was quite eventful and as most of the time when a lot of things are happening, I learned quit a bit.
I was part of a grandcentrix team participating in the Interactive Cologne Hackathon. We pitched the idea to visualize local train stations and their trains departing on a map. Since grandcentrix is a mobile development company, we wanted to hack on an iOS and Android App.
The team started out with three developers, but fortunately got re-enforced by two designers.
The technical challenge of loading a bunch of information from a server and dropping pins on a map is rather small. The project wasn't really that interesting from a developer's point of view. However, the two designers came up with a very cool idea of how to visualize the information - the technical challenge was back on.
Their ideas were totally driving the project and it got us, the developers, motivated. It was very interesting to see that it didn't only go one way. The more motivated we got, the faster we iterated and were able to bring the designers' ideas to life. In turn, that challenged them to refine their designs and improve it.
This process was so inspiring and fun, that I start to believe it is the way to go when prototyping a feature of an App. I think there is very little gain from separating conceptual, design and implementation efforts. Each of the different disciplines benefit from each other and I actually think they need each other in order to yield the best possible results.
Even though I'm a rather visual person, I am far from having any deep knowledge about design. My strength lies in implementing ideas and bringing them to life. I know the tools and processes to do so and that's what I love doing. I need someone who's considering the big picture and the visual aspect of the parts I'm supposed to implement. At the same time they need me to know the limits of the respective platform or system and of course to realize their ideas.
I think it takes all the different areas of expertise and their individual strengths combined in order to create the best possible solution.
It was so much fun working with a bunch of like-mined enthusiasts towards the same goal, I can't wait to repeat it again in the future.