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Working to Inspire the Makers of Tomorrow

Hack the Future is a one-day self-directed party for future hackers in grades 5-12. It’s a unique opportunity to learn design and development from Bay Area mentors.

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Discovering the Audience

I am a mentor at HTF and also help with branding and web presence. At first, I met with Hack the Future founders and volunteers to get insight into the organization. Who is their audience, what are their goals, and what do they stand for? There were three major audience groups and the website had to serve each. First were the parents who, more than their children, were visiting the site. Their goals were to get more information, find the next event, and secure a spot. Next were volunteers and sponsors, who wanted to know how to donate time or resources. Using those goals, we designed a page that described their mission and next event on one page. We then provided top-level links to guide sponsors and volunteers to get involved. The brand was refreshed and appealed to both kids and adults while staying focused on tech.

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Fostering a Love of Design in the Makers of Tomorrow

The most rewarding part of working with Hack the Future are the events. Kids can explore topics like game dev, 3D printing, design, robotics, electronics, coding, etc. I help get kids excited about design. With assorted odds and ends and art supplies, we create a prototyping station. Kids have identified problems, ideated, and prototyped some pretty amazing things. We help them test their solutions with parents and peers.

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Above, Audrey runs through some user tests of her iOS app "Bike Age", a game that improves over time as your cycling skill increases.

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Michael uses design thinking to solve the problem: "How can we keep food warm throughout a meal?" His solution is a self-heating plate with compartments allowing for varying food temperatures. Double wall construction and handles help prevent burns. Here, he is presenting his sketch and early physical prototype.

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Here, the walls of the Tech Museum fill with designs for websites, apps, games, and more made by the kids.