DALI Application Supplements
Complete the following supplements as appropriate for the role(s) for which you are applying.
Please submit the supplements with the personalized Typeform link sent to you.
If you have questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by our Open Lab Hours on Mondays from 5-8pm.
First, the code challenge. You can find directions for the code challenge here.
Once you’ve completed the challenge(s), please fill out the personal Typeform link sent to you via email to complete your application. Here we will ask for 2 additional code samples from any of your previous work. These should be submitted in the form of urls for Gists or links to Github files or repos. Please make sure that shared files are publicly viewable! They don't need to be very long — even a single method or class is fine. We look for samples of code that are clean and well written with good commenting and logical code structure. We especially appreciate applicants who demonstrate a passion for coding, like building a side project or learning a new language, so we prefer work done outside of class.
Do your work by hand on paper. Your work should reflect your creativity and problem solving abilities, and the result doesn’t need to be more than a few (legible) ideas and sketches.
Part 1: Banner Redesign
Banner is Dartmouth's main channel for student logistical planning, such as registering for courses, selecting D-Plan schedules, etc. Students become familiar with Banner, but complain about the overall usability of the site. This first challenge is split into 3 parts:
- Explain some of the short-fallings of the current Banner Student design (e.g. user experience, user interface).
- Redesign banner to be more intuitive and easy to use for students (you can selectively choose 2-3 pages that you think are the most important). Submit 2-3 sketches of your design.
- Annotate your sketches to explain the rationale behind your design choices.
Part 2: Design a Fridge (suggested 30 minutes)
We are accustomed to the inefficiencies and common issues in household objects that could be improved with better product design. In this design challenge, redesign a fridge in a new and improved way. Be creative and think outside of the box! (For inspiration, feel free to look at this video of how IDEO redesigned a shopping cart.)
Part 3: Mockups (optional)
This part is optional, but encouraged to show your UI Design skills. You may choose to do this if you don't have mockups to show in your design samples, and/or if you'd like to strengthen your application. Hi-fidelity mockups are the last step in our DALI design process, and an essential DALI skill. It should look like the final product, without the code.
Take your Banner redesign sketches and bring them into a product design tool of choice (like Figma or Sketch). Follow the online tutorials to get familiar with the tool (e.g. Figma YouTube). Develop those pages to hi-fidelity mockups (include final colors, fonts, spacing and layout, and photos/icons). Submit 2-3 pages of hi-fidelity mockups.
What is UI Design? Learn more with Envato Tuts+.
How to Submit your Design Challenges:
Submit samples in the personal typeform link sent to you via email. In this form we will also ask for 2-4 design samples from any of your previous work. These should be submitted in the form of imgur.com links. We evaluate samples based on good problem solving, technical skill, composition, and appropriate use of color and fonts. Some examples are website/app sketches or designs, logos, posters, newspaper layouts, custom typography, design briefs, 3d models, videos, and iterations of work. We also accept purely fine art pieces like paintings, collages, and sculptures.
The first three challenges are situational, while in the last one you will create a sample document. Your responses should reflect your interpersonal skills and problem solving ability -- the result should give us a comprehensive understanding of your approach to the problem, but need not be exhaustive.
Some things to know before jumping into the challenges: DALI teams usually consist of two developers, two designers, and one project manager. Each team is focused on one project brought to the lab by a partner. In the past, partners have been students, professors, nonprofit and for-profit companies, government agencies, and start-ups. They are chosen through an application process. Teams move through five phases throughout a project: Discover, Define, Design/Develop, and Deliver. This could take anywhere from one term to over a year, depending on the complexity of the problem and solution. DALI’s strength lies in delivering prototypes for the partner to use to conduct user research and launch their product. For more specifics, peruse our Member Guide.
Challenge 1: Waffling
Pretend for a minute that you are the Project Manager of a DALI team. At the beginning of the term, the partner pitches their idea as a website full of data. After researching state of the art and conducting user research, your team identified the problem and proposed a webapp with some interactive data visualizations. However, the partner later decides that the focus should be less on the data and more on the people behind the data. Your team adjusts. At the next meeting, the partner is happy with the new direction, but thinks that an app is really the way to go for this new model. By now it is five weeks into the term. How would you help your team and the partner choose a direction and move forward with the project?
Challenge 2: Team Dynamics
There are a lot of different personalities within your team. One team member is very enthusiastic, has a lot of ideas, takes the lead on every project, and contributes all the time. Another team member is talented, attends meetings, but doesn’t say much and does the bare minimum when it comes to work. How do you interpret this situation? What might you do about it?
Challenge 3: Milestones
DALI teams set milestones to organize work, prioritize, and keep the project moving. As PM, you are responsible for setting reasonable milestones and keeping your team on track. In this scenario, your team is a two weeks behind on milestones. Your partner and the lab staff are asking for an update. One of the developers on the team tells you they are behind because they had to refactor the firebase multicursor because the kerning doesn't align with the redux state model-view controller framework and the NS user defaults plist file is corrupted and the bytecode can’t be recovered. They are also facing out of date podfile dependency errors caused by directed acyclical graph conversion exception. What would you do?
Challenge 4: Plan a Partner Meeting
In this challenge, you will be asked to plan a initial partner meeting using the partner application as a resource. Partners apply with projects to the lab and describe their idea and vision for its implementation in their application. Often their application contains all the details we know and it is up to you and your team get the big picture and more details. During the first week of every term, teams meet with their partner for a project kickoff. This meeting is important because it is the first time you are talking with the partners and is a crucial time to get all the background information your team might need. Based on this sample partner application, please write a plan for this kickoff meeting. Write a meeting agenda in a google doc (make sure we can view it!) along with an explanation. In the explanation please walk us through your decisions regarding content, structure, etc.
How to Submit your PM Challenges:
Once you’ve completed the challenges, please fill out the personal typeform link sent to you via email to complete your application. In this form we will ask additional short-answer questions and give you room to paste answers to the challenges above.