Most people know Dave Eggers as a talented author of fiction and nonfiction. He is also the founder of a quirky and successful tutoring center called 826 Valencia. Eggers’ dream, as he told the world after winning the TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) Prize, was to inspire people to get involved with local schools. Hot Studio was asked to design a website that did just that.


A short time to design and build—and create a brand identity
We partnered with Eggers and TED conference organizers to create a website where people could pledge ideas for school engagement and read inspirational stories about those who have successfully completed projects.

Hot had six weeks to design and build a site that would portray the vitality of Eggers’ mission online: to inspire leadership, commitment, and community activism in literacy. Applying what we learned from user research, we rapidly prototyped our ideas with Eggers, and designed and built a site that could publish thousands of stories.

Part of the mix: frontend coding and training
During this small window we collaborated with Eggers and his team, then performed not only frontend coding and site implementation, but content management training for the team who would be managing the website.

An award-winning site that helps the community
The new site allows people to find information on local schools, get inspired by current projects, and share stories about their own projects. Once Upon A School’s new site launched in time for the TED conference. Since then, hundreds of stories and ideas for projects have come in from teachers and community volunteers. was an official Webby Honoree in 2009.