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UA92 Hackathon

Why Were UA92 Students Asked to Develop the World’s Worst Website?



What makes the world’s worst website? UA92 Digital Students compete to find out.

With well over a billion websites on the world wide web, developers and designers are constantly looking to innovate and improve, meaning we’re always asking the question ‘what makes a great website?’

So, why were UA92 digital students asked to build the world’s worst website?

The brief was simple: make the world’s best worst website. Splitting up into teams of 3 or 4, the challenge united students from UA92’s cyber security and computer science courses. They had to use all the skills and knowledge they had gained so far and could use any programming language they liked, with most choosing HTML, CSS and Javascript. Their websites could involve any product or service they wanted. Students came up with all kinds of creative ideas from online clothing and grocery stores to websites for cheese enthusiasts and second-hand catalytic converters sales.

Steph Riley, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science explains the reason behind the unusual challenge.

“Students had to take everything they had learnt about good UX and UI in website development and do the complete opposite. If you know what makes a good website, then you know how to make a bad one. The activity was designed to be fun and engaging and give students a chance to apply their technical knowledge but also use other skills like team working, project methodology, communication and presenting.”

The students got stuck in, researching terrible websites online for ideas and inspiration. Common ‘features’ included offensive pop ups, broken internal links, error messages, buttons that move when you hover over them and login pages you can’t log in to.

Students were given just 3-hours to discuss their ideas, develop their websites and present them back to a panel of judges.

However, students were not only judged on their website designs, but on their processes and collaboration throughout the task, which they were asked to reflect on during a presentation at the end of session. The ‘Hackathon’ was one of the 92 Programme ‘focus days’ which students engage in alongside their subject course. Activities like these are designed to develop employability skills such as critical-thinking and team-working, preparing students for career success beyond their studies. You can find out more about the 92 Programme and how it works.

One team called Team Comp Crew, impressed the judges with their approach to the task. Mitkumar, second year Computer Science student reflected, “We thought a lot about What usually attracts online customers? What creates a good user experience? And how can these ideas be subverted? Our aim was to develop the world’s worst social media platform – an accessibility nightmare with images that crashed the site. We used a waterfall methodology, dividing the tasks between the group and bringing them together at the end.”

Other stand out teams included Team Alpha, who had a lot of fun developing their website about memes. Their presentation had the room in stitches as they discussed their extensive navigation bar for products, good products and very good products – all of which failed to deliver a cohesive user experience. Team Team (not a typo) impressed with their agile working strategy while Team The Group got praise for using their initiative and utilising AI for the ideation stage of their process.

The overall winners of the hackathon were Team Cheese. They demonstrated a methodical approach to the task, even creating a client persona – the ultimate cheese connoisseur.

Abi, a second-year computer science student and Team Cheese member said, “We divided tasks and clearly defined our team roles. It was a lot of fun. We normally test a website for bugs then work out how to fix them but on this occasion, we had to add as many bugs as we could.”

Team Cheese impressed the judges with their presentation, clearly reflecting on their approach to the project and suggesting how they could do things differently in the future.

By the end of the session, the students had produced a varying range of ridiculous websites, some creating larger errors such as broken pages, while others focused on content issues such as misspelled text and empty space.

“Being agile is about communication,” explained Steph Riley, Computer Science senior lecturer, “Students across our digital courses are getting the chance to work together and have fun. We cover the technical here at UA92, but we try and keep our sessions fun and engaging.”

If you’d like to find out more about our digital courses, including Computer Science and Cyber Security, have a look at our course search. Students might not always be building the world’s worst websites, but you have the chance to work with industry partners such as Microsoft and Cisco, with the option of multiple start dates throughout the year.

You might even build a good website once in a while.