Nov 04, 2009

Hot Wins 'The Future of Digital Reading' Design Challenge

Josh Williams's picture
Josh Williams
Director, Product Strategy

Hot is extremely pleased and humbled that our team's submission was chosen as the winner of Core77 and Portigal Consulting's 1-Hour Design Challenge, called The Future of Digital Reading. We were blown away by the quality and smarts of the competition, and we're thrilled to be in such talented company. If you haven't already, you should definitely check out the other finalists, as they all represent intelligent and insightful solutions to this challenge.

About the challenge

How do you design for the future of digital reading? That was the question that framed Core77 and Portigal Consulting's 1-hour Design Challenge, which was based on the findings of Portigal Consulting's research initiative, Reading Ahead. Participants in the challenge were directed to review Portigal's research and then create a design that addressed the key principals that derived from the research. Oh, and finish the design in an hour. Well, 90 minutes. Plus or minus. But you get the idea.

Designers + Beer = Fun

Late on a Friday afternoon, a group of Hot's designers and a good-natured friend gathered in Hot's biggest conference room. We spread books of all sizes out on the conference table, salty and sweet snacks in every corner, and several six packs of beer on ice. What more could you need? We watched segments from Portigal Consulting's video where they outlined their findings, and paused a few times to discuss amongst ourselves. After we got comfortable with the background material, we divided into a couple teams, each focusing on a different approach. Here's the description of the winning concept in our submission:

  • The SuperFlyer is made up of a special e-fabric that displays reading material on two sides.  It folds up to fit into a pocket, but then it pops open to a "pamphlet" in the default mode.
  • These SuperFlyers also transform back to a flexible cloth which attaches to almost anything for reading convenience: refrigerator, T-shirt, scarf, wall, table, toilet paper.
  • SuperFlyers have a chameleon mode which adapts to the color of its background, and also a stiff braille mode.  Readers can also share materials by bumping SuperFlyers to share reads.

The winning SuperFlyer concept came from a collaboration of Shalin Amin, Holly Hagen, Leslie Kang, and our buddy Jake Cressman.  

Everyone's A Winner

The prizes for this challenge are donation in the winners' names to one of our favorite non-profits, 826 Valencia! (For more about our love of 826 Valencia and Dave Eggers, click here.)

We want to say thank you to Core77 and Portigal Consulting for offering up such a compelling challenge, and for giving us a chance to have fun.

Go, Reading!

Our entire submissions is below...