Hackaton — Have you heard? (Todos VS Fakes)

Simone Ferreira
7 min readOct 21, 2019


Here it’s a little bit about our first experience in a Hackathon that gave us second place.

This text is co-written by Julio Blay Kocinas, Marina Merlin and Simone Ferreira (me!), all UX/UI Designers.

We were selected to participate in the Hackathon organized by Goethe Institut in São Paulo, from 11 to 13 of October.

Team members

On this event, that had several lectures before and during the hackathon, we formed an international group. With us, we had the opportunity to share those days of a lot of work, learning and friendship with Hanza Lari, developer from Pakistan, Frerich Hanisch developer from Germany and Jana Reinhardt, designer also from Germany.

With people from different countries we faced a big challenge that was to communicate and express our thoughts and ideas, in everyone’s second language: English.

Hanza, Julio, Friedrich, Jana, Simone and Marina (from left to right) designed by Marina

Fake News

Before the hackathon itself, we had some lectures about the topic. Journalists, teachers, sociologists and researchers were invited to present some information about fake news, and other similar topics, like big data. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be present in all the presentations, but we learnt a lot from those above.

The Concept

After some of the lectures, instructions and presentations of the ideas and the other candidates, we finally had our team, by around 1 am on Saturday. We decided to make a game that would expose the main subject: fake news.

After some debate and brainstorm of ideas, we managed to start reaching something. The concept of our game would be a multi-platform game, played in two different screens, a computer and smartphones. The players could play with some personalities like President Trump and Bolsonaro, Elon Musk or some stereotypes of people, like a vegan person, WhatsApp aunt, and Neuropathy.


The inspiration of the game was especially the cards game “Humans against Humanity”. We considered the idea of having blank spaces to be filled for the players with words or sentences that could have politically incorrect content.

Some other game that inspired us were Dixit, Kahoot and Quiplash.

To test the usability and the achievement of the game we played one round all together, using five of the characters, and we had a lot of fun.

The Set

The idea of the game in the Uber, was because we wanted to have the game to be set in a daily situation, talking to unknown people about different subjects.

Another reason is that when people are in a space like an Uber, they are not face-to-face and this make it easier to say things that maybe they wouldn’t say looking to each other.


The objective of the game is answers news provided by the uber driver. She starts by saying “Have you Heard?” and then come with some news, and suddenly a bus comes and horns so it’s impossible to listen to some part of the sentence. Then she asks the person that is in her car, i.e. Trump what he thought about she just said, like “Ethiopia ______ with Eritrea” and the players have to complete having in their minds that they’re the american President. All of this is going on the main screen and the players have to answer in their phones.

After everyone had their answers, the players vote for the one that made the best imitation of what Trump would say in that moment, every vote counts 5 points, in the end, after 5 rounds of different news provided by the uber driver, the player with more points win. After everyone voted for that round, come again the uber driver and correct what it was actually the news, and a link is provided in the player phone, so they can check the news.


For each one of the characters we provide some information about who it is and some characteristics of the person in order to make the player thinking on someone else’s shoes.The user will be the character only for one round and then another one. A game has 5 rounds.

Our message

The main idea is to show how fake news become viral. And also that some people have an agenda and push it. That misunderstanding news often causes fake news and they can be deliberate. Sometimes only one different word can completely change a situation. It can become viral because of the feelings that are provided.

Our final message is to check the sources, by presenting them to each player.


The design of the game was created on Figma. Unfortunately, we had some technical problems in the development of the back-end of the game. We manage to show the usability of the game prototyping on Figma.

For a better display of our game, we created a video using soundtrack and sound effects for the different stages of the game. Also our Uber driver have a voice, and says the content to the users, but the horn make some part of it, inaudible.

Other team’s games

We faced other great teams, with brilliant ideas. Most of the groups decided to do games, but also had an amazing APP, that you could send a link to a news on the WhatsApp and see if it was fake news or not, or read news other people sent and write back to the system if it was fake or not. This group ended in third place.

One very fun game, was about one old lady that just need to go to the pharmacy to get her medicines without saying her CPF to the pharmacists

The first place of the Hackathon were a group that developed something inspired on Tom Cruise’s movie Minority Report. In this case, the player were emerged on virtual reality and have different tweets in front of him, and must find the ones that are fake news and the ones that aren’t.

Our achievement — 2nd place

For our pure joy, happiness and surprise we ended in the second place, that was a triumphal reward for all our work from this weekend.


Individual Conclusion

Simone (Me!)

At the beginning of the Hackathon, I wasn’t sure how I could help in the competition since I’m new in this field and I didn’t have any idea how it works. After this experience I can say that I helped in many moments, by giving some ideas, bringing some game references, working in the development of the interface of the game on Figma, organizing the style guide and some other tasks. It was an amazing experience. I also want to say thank you to my colleagues in this challenge because we worked all together the whole time.

Julio Blay Kocinas

It was a great experience to be part of this event. Before the Hackathon starts we had several lectures from experts on fake news, and co-related subjects, from all over Latin America that was a great introduction to the event and opened my mind to all the creative work that we would need after.

Once we decided our group, with three foreigners and 3 colleges from UX/UI we at first had some problems with the communication, but after less than 48 hours knowing each other, after the project we became real partners and with much better integration. Was great to see how well we worked together, even with different background and cultures. This for me was the highlight of our project.

Marina Merlin

The first thing that comes to my mind when I remember the hackathon is exchange! Exchange culture, knowledge and effort! It was an amazing experience, we could work and sharpen ideas together, what made our experience very rich. For me, it was a natural choice to be together with people of another country since I live in the Czech Republic for more than 3 years so far. We could introduce them to the software that we are used to, Figma, they showed us the workflow that they were used to. The weekend was very dynamic and even though a lot of things were not like we expected to be the result was very impressive and the idea was well shown and executed.



Simone Ferreira

Hi! I’m an UX/UI Designer and architect! More about me on my LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/simoneferreira