LINDA XU | AirTartan
linda xu, ux design, user experience, hci, interaction designer
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Sneak Peek: We used the Carnegie Mellon Red and Tartan Texture in the splash screen to show our appreciation to our university.

Name: Air Tartan

Type: Hackathon Project

Sponsor: Apple

Duration: 36 hours


Tian Zheng (Developer)

Gang Wu   (Developer)

Dean Wen (Developer)

My Role

Interaction Designer

UI Designer

 Main Tools




INTRO     |     THE WORK     |     THE PROCESS     |     SUCCESS METRICS

|    Intro


All is about Scotty, the Carnegie Mellon mascot.

So, her tour started!

Her first stop was UBitt. Cathedral of Learning, the building, is sooooo BIG!!!

Then she went to MID.

Then UC Buckeley.

And then Stanfard.

Scotty Kept on going and going…

Sometimes she is very tired, so she shoots fireballs to keep herself energized.

Sometimes she bumps into unexpected obstacles.

In more times, she wins!

In AirTartan, you be Scotty!


AirTartan is a Endless Runner game which uses a physical engine,  senses user’s input by motion control & tap sense, and has a one-click share feature.


|    The Work


See the exciting demo video on the right!

How to play


The rules are easy.

After the splash screen, tap on screen to start your journey!


Keep moving forward to accumulate scores and bullets!


Beware of the obstacles coming from up and down!


Dodge them or fire at them!


If you hit anything, you lose!


You can post your score on Facebook! Or invite more people!


As they always say, the more the merrier!


Try it out yourself!

Download the game in app store! Link

|    The Process


Thanks to coffee, energy drink, Red Bull, junk food and our laptops for making this possible!


Our ideation phase started at Friday afternoon 5pm, ended on Saturday 1am.


The former half of the 8 hours was dedicated to opening mind widely and having as many ideas as possible. As a result, we had over 100 ideas, which included applications and games.


In the latter half, we scoped the ideas down. We used a feasibility-impact matrix to analyze every selected idea.  As a result, we wanted to create a collaborative game.


However, after analyzing the feasibility of the idea, we thought the difficulty for the implementation a collaborative game in only 36 hours would be too hard, especially for people who just learned Swift. So we iterated on it, deleted some of the features we talked about, and reached an concrete idea.


As a team of 4 people, we chose agile development mode. Different from the traditional Waterfall development mode, agile develop mode enables designer and developer to work more closely and efficiently, and to iterate product faster.

We divided the project feature by feature and implemented them one by one. For instance, after I transferred the design of the scene to the developers, they began the development work for this feature so that I was able to keep working on the next feature – gravity control. As the interaction and visual designer in this project, I used interaction design method to prototype and made illustrations for the visual. Time was perfectly made use of during the 36 hours.

Remarkably, one develop in our team was working remotely, 1200 miles away. The agile development mode made the team bond tighter and the team members close to each other.


During our breaks, we took selfies!

|    Success Metrics


And we won!

Presentation & Winning

We presented our version1.0 in McConomy Auditorium, Carnegie Mellon University. There were over 300 hundred people in the audience and over 26 apps/prototypes were presented. In the voting, we won the audience choice award, which meant the majority of the audience voted for our game.

Meet the Team

|    About the Hackathon

The iOS App Challenge Hackathon at CMU is a 4-day-long, non-stop product design and development event at Carnegie Mellon.




The iOS Apps that are developed and submitted must meet these requirements in order to be eligible to win the contest and are subject to verification by Apple:

  • Must be a native iOS application and written in Swift.
  • Must be developed no sooner than the kick-off event.
  • Must be fully functional and working at the time of review.
  • Must meet submission requirements for the App Store.
  • May not contain any previously developed code, except where permitted by the license agreement from the provider. Any open source code must be acknowledged in the About screen or settings bundle of the App.

|    Growth  &  Introspection


Developing a functional app in only 36 hours was challenging. I am glad we survived. This is a proof that I can proudly show people for that I can manage pressure/stress.

UI Spec is important. It’s the designer’s job to get this clear with developears.

In Agile Development, do not go extremely deep in one feature.

A solid IxD is a must for a good visual.


By the time we developed this app, there was no iphone 6. So I kept iterating on the UI for our next release, which fits iphone 6 better, and also more flat design and less skeuomorphic design.