RevolUX 2021: A David vs Goliath story

And this is where the adventure takes a turn. A twist, if you will. None of us had a clue about UI/UX design. Nothing in the least.

RevolUX 2021: A David vs Goliath story
RevolUX 2021

The other day, while scrolling through my feed, the RevolUX 3.0 post popped up, and it brought a wave of nostalgia from the very first RevolUX Inter-University UI/UX Designathon. As I'm on the verge of wrapping up my undergrad life at the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC), it felt like the perfect time to spill the beans on how a bunch of UI/UX noobs turned the game around.

Why David vs Goliath, though? You may ask... Well... bear with me as I will get into it in a bit. Hang tight.

Flashback to 2021: The Freshman Conundrum

Before we dive into the epic tale of our David vs Goliath saga, let's rewind 2 years. It's 2021, and I'm stepping into UCSC to pursue a degree in Computer Science. Freshman vibes, right? But here's the kicker – the world was grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, and everything was virtual. Meeting fellow students became a distant dream, and understanding the university landscape? Well, that was a challenge on its own.

To break free from the virtual monotony, I decided to plunge headfirst into university life by joining clubs and societies cz FOMO (Fear of missing out). AIESEC, IEEE, Gavel, Colombo Beacon – you name it, I was there. The only club I wasn't in was Rotaract, cz that was not available in our faculty back then (there's a funny story of how we joined a Rotaract club group, albeit Rotaract Club of Faculty of Management and Finance, but that's a different story for another day).

Enter RevolUX: A glimmer of hope in the "New Normal"

Amidst the club frenzy, a glimmer caught my eye – the first RevolUX flyer; a UI/UX Designathon organized by AIESEC and IEEE, two clubs that I was a member of. Excitement pulsed through me as I rallied my uni buddies from school, Ravindu Sasanka and Nisura Indisa. The trio was in, but we needed more firepower. Enter Dilanga Harshani, a psychology enthusiast, joining our quest (Cz UX is closer to psychology after all, innit?).

RevolUX 2021 poster

And this is where the adventure takes a turn. A twist, if you will. None of us had a clue about UI/UX design. Nothing in the least. Well, to be fair, Nisura and Ravindu had toyed with AdobeXD, but standing out? Not really. Our saving grace? Three workshops that magically unravelled the UI/UX universe. Figma became our new saviour, to the extent that we used it even in poster designs.

The Chronicles of

When the initial competition round rolled in, we were tasked with picking a category and crafting a UI for an app or website that addresses a challenge within that category. If my memory serves me right, we settled on the intriguing intersection of transportation and fitness, and designed, a cycling application, which I have shared below. Now, before you judge, remember, this was us as total noobs. Nisura wanted to explore the realm of Gradient instead of Flat design, which is reflected in our submission as well.

A week after submitting our creation, the reality check struck – we forgot a logo. Classic noob move; But guess what? We made it to the top 10 teams, and we were the lone first-year warriors headed to the finals. The mix of excitement and nervousness was unprecedented, but we mustered our courage and geared up for the ultimate showdown in the final round of the competition.

The 12-Hour Design Frenzy

Fast forward to the designathon round, a 12-hour sprint, demanding us to conjure up a solution in the form of a UI/UX design and prototype, all within the constraints of time. Our mission? A UI prototype for a hospital system named Beyond Care. The catch? Well, we were scattered across our homes, navigating the challenge remotely. As we embarked on this endeavor, we strategically distributed responsibilities among ourselves to make the most of our collaborative efforts.

We kicked off with a solid hour of diving deep into the requirements, deciphering what was expected of us and figuring out what we could deliver within the given timeframe. In the 12-hour window, we strategized on additional aspects we could incorporate to elevate our design. We decided to split up the tasks, and we entrusted Dilanga with the UX aspects. She crafted insightful user personas and supporting documents. Nisura delved into the brand kit and colours, while Ravindu took charge of the basic layouts. As for me, I dived into the logo creation.

After this initial brainstorming, the three of us divided sections, delving into our respective realms of expertise to design the User Interface and the prototype. Despite our novice status, we conjured up a surprisingly polished UI, going above and beyond the expected functionalities outlined in the problem statement. Pulling it all together, we managed to submit all the required deliverables before the ticking clock hit the deadline.

David vs Goliath in the Virtual Arena

The very next day, were the virtual presentations. We, the freshers, facing off against older, more experienced contenders from different universities across the country. A David and Goliath showdown, indeed. The presentation round was a rollercoaster of nerves, but somehow, we managed to impress the judging panel with our solution and some bonus deliverables.

The award ceremony arrived, and the compere revealed the third-place team – alas, it wasn't us. Anxiety crept in, and the fear of not clinching victory loomed large. The tension escalated as the second-place team was announced, but still not us. I'm sure many can relate to that heart-pounding sensation, that tight grip of uncertainty. As we exchanged messages in our team WhatsApp group, the suspense peaked.

(suspenseful waiting....)

"And the winner of RevolUX 2021 is..."

(suspense intensifies....)

Team RANDoms from UCSC!

Nevertheless, we, the noobs, took down teams from various Sri Lankan universities and emerged as champions, echoing the David vs Goliath spirit. Ecstasy swept through our batch, marking the first-ever victory for the UCSC 18th batch in our undergrad lives within the first 2 months of our university journey. A shoutout to my awesome teammates for propelling us to this triumph.

Behind the Curtain: The Fun Stuff

Here's a fun fact for you readers: our team name, RANDoms, is a playful fusion of our initials – R for Ravindu, A for Abdullah, N for Nisura, and D for Dilanga. Just a little Easter egg to bring a smile to your face.

And here's another bit of trivia for you: the brains behind ZaVolt, the very platform you are reading this on, are none other than Ravindu, Nisura and me, the dynamic members of our victorious team. Yet another Easter egg to add to your collection of cheerful surprises.

The Grand Lesson? Dive In!

So, what's the big takeaway, you ask? If you're a freshman or have never dipped your toes in competitions, fear not! Don't shy away; instead, take that leap because, who knows, you might just win the championship!

With that said, consider this your personal invitation to join the RevolUX 3.0 designathon. It's not just a competition; it's a thrilling journey that could shape and mould your UI/UX skills in ways you can't even imagine. So, gear up for an adventure that promises to be nothing short of amazing!

P.S. This isn't some sneaky paid promotion from Ravindu, the reigning president of the IEEE Student Branch at UCSC. No hidden agendas here—just the genuine enthusiasm to share my story and encourage you to dive into the exciting world of RevolUX 3.0!