Seven Indiana area high school teams participated in the Mobile App UX Competition sponsored by the Department of Human-Centered Computing and held at the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI on November 6, 2021. The theme this year was exploring how an app could help reconnect people after the pandemic or preserve the positive benefits of disconnecting.
Competition organizer Travis Faas, Media Arts and Science lecturer at the School of Informatics and Computing, said, “This year’s challenge was designed to introduce participants to the idea that app design need not always address challenges or business needs, but can also be used as a tool to reflect upon the world. I hope that, in addition to refining their impressive and growing design and development skills, they have come to think of design as a tool for thinking in addition to a tool for solving.”
First place went to the Sticky Lizards of Cathedral High school with their app titled “QuarantineMan,” Based on the game of hangman, this app is designed to be played by two users using one smart phone. Each user responds to a getting-to-know-you prompt such as “your favorite hobby during the pandemic” or “where do you go to school,” and then take turns guessing the answer.
The second place team, Dragon Software from Bloomington High School South, developed “nearSocial,” a social media app that allows users to only add friends who are located nearby and for just 30 minutes at a time. All comments on posts must be peer-reviewed before publishing and there are no push notifications; the goal is to create a moderated, non-addictive platform.
The third place app, created by Carmel High School’s Code Hounds connects users with communities of people with similar interests, hobbies, and passions. The “PassionSpark” app lists all groups and hobbies in user profiles.
Judges looked for unique concepts, thoughtful interface design, and working prototypes in their evaluation.
Two other teams were recognized: the Bloomington High School South team from Bloomington High School South received honorable mention: social impact for their “Bananatine” app and the Brefeuf Coding Club received honorable mention: technical merit for their app “Connected?”