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Austin Design Week / Design-a-thon 2020

Empowering small restaurant businesses in Austin to work together and sustain the challenges of Covid -19.

Experience Design / Conceptual Design / Visual Design / User testing


Design-a thon

In the fourth annual Austin Design Week's Design-a-thon, the panel addressed the actionable change in the city, and in this multi-part event, teams competed to improve outcomes of Austin’s biggest problems. 

Hackathon Schedule

Designed an experience for real-time collaboration, employee exchange program, and partner with other restaurants on cuisines or other ways restaurants prefer.


Project Highlight

Leverage design in a virtual setting to solve a problem during difficult times, working with a new team on a design sprint.

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Team lead- Responsible for guiding team and planning the project, user research, interaction design, content strategy, and presentation.


Design Platform

Android Mobile design



Mini- pitch competition followed by 1-week design sprint in November 2020

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Mini Pitch-

Identifying the problem. 

On the first day, 11 teams were given 1 hour to work on the design prompt of "How might We leverage design in a virtual setting".  I timeboxed the team and we started brainstorming ideas on the different sectors or the community that was affected by the pandemic. We came across Education, Small-Businesses, Healthcare, the Environment, and more. After voting on our favorite ideas, we explored Education and Small business even more.

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Diverging ideas-

Why is it a problem?

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We were designing a solution for small restaurant businesses in Austin. Our persona, Mark was a 40-year-old restaurant owner who is struggling to adapt quickly to the changing business landscape. He wished to engage with the restaurant community so they can help one another so solve common problems during the pandemic.


  • Restaurants faced unemployment and it was hard to let go of their employees.

  • Restaurants had limited budgets and resources to deliver to customers or be visible on the web.

  • It was tough to trust other businesses.

  • Communication and knowledge sharing was important

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Mini pitch-

Vision for the future

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We were selected in the Top 5 !

So the 1-week hackathon began.

The design idea was to creating a Portal for the restaurant business community to communicate collaborate to support each other.

Food Truck Example A- Business A can offer or share their food truck with Business B to help them run their business and collaborate together.


Unemployment Example B- Business A could send a message "I have to let go a few people, would there be any businesses willing to hire these individuals?" 


In this way, businesses are leveraging their network to help employees and locals find employment impacting the community at large because it brings B2B together and provides the local community (B2C) ways to connect with the businesses they wouldn't have otherwise.

My Process

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Hi-fi prototype


User Testing

Research- Hack Day 1

We exchanged information and discussed ideas that we found through our secondary research which helped define our problem statement.

Problem statement

How can small businesses Trust each other and Virtually collaborate to sustain during the Pandemic?

How can small businesses Trust each other and Virtually collaborate to keep their businesses going?

Ideation- Hack Day 2

Crazy 8's

We narrowed down our key features and chose our MVP's which were easy to design and accomplish in the next few days. We decided to design a mobile app as small business owners can access it easily.

1. Immediate help for delivering their food, request for volunteers, or help in supplying specialty food.

2. Small businesses can form a long-term partnership with other businesses to work together on a common menu and help each other to stay in business. Businesses can be matched based on their profiles (cuisine, expertise, experience, etc) and can partner up on 1 delivery

(like a trial) to get a better sense if this collaboration works for them.

3. In tough times like these, it is challenging to let go of employees, and the “Employee Exchange Program” helps employees to keep their jobs and help other businesses in need. With this program, a business can trade employees to other businesses and in exchange partner up to contribute to the menu items, holiday events or holiday deals for a specific duration of time.

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Crazy 8's for mobile app features

High Fidelity Prototype design- Hack Day 3

Our Solution- B2B

Back2Biz (B2B) is a mobile app that enables small business owners to become agile during critical times. It is a platform that promotes the community's economy and enables growth opportunities. 

The app can scale to fit a wide range of industries and communities by providing common community tools to increase equality and accessibility.

Target audience:
• Current restaurant owners

• Indirectly affects the customers and community at large


Key Features

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Product features- Hack Day 3


Sign Up and Onboarding

The sign- up process was straightforward with some key input field.


1. For a secure business collaboration, business owners need to enter Business License Id's and Permit numbers to validate the authenticity of the business.

2. To match businesses efficiently, the sign-up process includes easy profile creation and options to select their 'cuisine' and willingness to 'partner with other businesses.


Submit & Find Requests


Businesses can request immediate help for delivery, volunteers, food supply, and/or restaurant/food truck space from others in their community.

• View incoming and accepted requests
• Create and submit a request
• Find requests on the map view




Businesses can search and find other businesses in their community to collaborate and form partnerships.


• Collaborate, call, message, or view profile
• See reviews, specialties, past collaborations, and employee placements


Employee Exchange


Enables business owners to promote former employees within their small business network to strengthen and build local communities.


• Recommend your former employees to other businesses
• Hire employees, check their profile and connect
• Upload your employee resumes

User Testing- Hack Day 4

User Testing

Business owners really appreciated the idea of the application. They felt that our product would be helpful to them as they collaborate with other restaurants during these tough times.


By establishing business partnerships we start to build relationships and through the Employee Exchange program employees and employers feel mutually valued.


They feelt safe to know restaurant information would be validated as they compete and collaborate with other restaurants

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Trust - How does it affect restaurant businesses in a virtual setting and the community at large?

Having trust among one another is challenging especially in the restaurant community. When businesses trust one another, they can collaborate better and seamlessly in this virtual environment. 

  • There is always New talent in the community and they are great! They did not know that their dreams had to be paused in these challenging times. Trusting and collaborating with other businesses gives them a platform to showcase their talent , create a brand identity, and establish a customer base. 

  • So how are we establishing Trust within in our application? Business IDs and certifications add a level of security which validates trust between companies.

  • Restaurant owners can also utilize a 1 time trial collaboration to see if this partnership can work.

• Creates job opportunity with Back2Biz
• Attracts great talent within the locality
• Brand or re-brands businesses

Conclusion and Next steps

In conclusion, our product brings together small businesses to collaborate virtually and create partnerships. It helps employees find new places of work (Temp/ Perm) and we aspire to scale it to other business industries, cities, and expand our target audience. We see the potential for sister applications for a more secure and targeted approach for the delivery sector and customer base.


As we progress with the product development, we hope to establish a user base so customers can try our application and after we get enough customers we can move to a Tiered subscription model to promote our premium features.

• Great way to collaborate with restaurants
• Partnership in EE program makes owners confident
• Potential for sister apps depending on target audience.

Cost model:
• Initial phase: Establish user base
•Second phase: Free trial to explore the product and tiered subscription model to promote premium features

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On the final day of the hackathon, we all prepared our notes and practiced how we would present our project a few times before the presentation. We timed ourselves to be under 10 minutes and below is the video of our final pitches at Austin's Design week!

Final Pitches- Hack Day 5

My Team !

Team Springboard

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