NPT: Storytellers

I’m back-a-thon from the hackathon at the very first Hack for the Community!

Not only was this the first event of its kind in this area — a volunteer-driven hack event to meet community needs in middle Tennessee — but it is the first hackathon I’ve gone to (and not the last!). Apparently there was a dearth of graphic designer volunteers, so I’m glad to have been able to sign up and participate!

There were several projects to which one could lend one’s strengths, many involving more back-end-related development. I gravitated toward the blog project — revamping the Storytellers blog at Nashville Public Television. I’ve had experience with redesigning blogs, and I especially love modernizing and simplifying content-focused websites.

Over the course of 36 hours, our team created a new mobile-ready blog template for the WordPress-powered site, emphasizing simplicity and content. NPT wanted to make it easier for local immigrants to submit their video stories to share with the world. It was our #1 priority to make the content easy to access.


I made a Style Tile design guide to start. Here’s another one.

Our team’s roles consisted of project management, graphic design, content migration and editing, back-end plugin integration, and front-end development. We hashed out a process, wireframes, and basic styles, and had discussions about look & feel, platforms, and divisions of labor that would shift throughout the project. WordPress is simple to design for and to manage, so, even facing bugs and hosting hiccups, we were able to hash it all out in record time!

In all, the experience was pretty much what I expected it to be:

  • Everything that I thought could go wrong did — Murphy’s law in action — BUT my team, with their smarts and endurance, recovered from all technical problems and bugs post-haste!
  • I was feeling under-the-weather the whole time, especially the first day, and actually had trouble listening at first…my head was swimming for a little while. Despite this, we managed to handle everything step-by-step! And when it comes to design, I’m all over it! I’m fortunate for my team’s coordination and drive!
  • We were well-fed, which was pretty nice!!
  • Our crowd and the causes involved were very diverse. That’s one thing I like about my area; Nashville itself is pretty varied. Diversity is the key to survival, after all.
  • Everybody was really nice. I hope that we all cross paths again!

Truly, this is the volunteer state — there’s nothing we can’t accomplish when we work together for great causes! Thanks to the HCA Foundation and everyone else involved for making it happen!

Designer, artist, author, comic enthusiast, and geek about visual design/video games/Japan/human rights. Among other things!

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