getting ready coderaiser

The past three months have been pretty exciting for us all here as we’ve been planning our first ever charity hackathon, CodeRaiser, which is taking place from the 3rd – 4th October. CodeRaiser is a 24 hour endurance challenge to build a new website for a charity, and in the hope that our first CodeRaiser goes well, we will surely be looking run the event again in the future for other charities.

The Idea

The concept for this 24 hour challenge comes from the popular event known as a hackathon which is often undertaken by groups of designers and developers to build a digital product. The drive to take on such a challenge comes from the desire to use our skills as designers and developers to give back to our local community.

The Charity

Our chosen charity for our first project is Home-Start Stevenage. Home-Start is a UK wide charity with individual branches all over the UK helping families with young children deal with whatever life throws at them. They support parents as they learn to cope, improve confidence, and build better lives for their children.

During one of our meetings with the Home-Start Stevenage team we were lucky enough to meet some of the families they have helped and talk with them about the excellent services and support Home-Start Stevenage provides to local families.

DM team, Home-Start Stevenage team, and families.


The biggest challenge of CodeRaiser is to produce something of high quality, despite the constraints and fatigue caused by the 24 hour rush. We recognised that it would be impossible to undertake this challenge without any preparation work, so we came up with a plan to prepare ourselves with some of the things we need prior to the event.

The first step was to meet with the team at Home-Start Stevenage and find out their requirements for the website and share some initial ideas. This is what we call a kick off meeting. It was great to meet the HS Stevenage team and it really helped us understand the charity and the people they help. This understanding was essential for the next piece of preparation work we needed to do, which was to construct wireframes.

Whiteboard: Initial planning for Home-Start Stevenage

Wireframes are essentially a shell of a website where we can identify the layout, user journey and any potential problems (design or development) early on in the project. This is important for any project but more so for this one due to the 24 hour time constraint. We need to make sure there are going to be as fewer bumps in the road as possible during development. You can view the original wireframes of the site here.

The next stage of preparation was to design the site using the brand guidelines provided by Home-Start. This included some logo positioning and colours, but overall we had a lot of creative freedom with the site. Fonts, images and graphics were carefully chosen and designed to reflect the Home-Start charity brand but also to ensure the site is fully accessible, clear and easily understandable to all potential visitors.

Here’s a mock up of the designs.

A preview of the home page design for Home-Start Stevenage's new website.

The Event

So that’s it. We’re now all prep’d and ready to embark on our 24 hour, caffeine and pizza fueled challenge, which will be taking place at the Business & Technology Centre, Meeting Room 4 (just behind the Bistro) from 12:00pm 3rd October, through the night until 12:00pm 4th October.

We welcome anyone who wishes to visit us during the event and if you would like to see how we do overall in the challenge you can register yourself here for a short presentation that we will be giving after the event where we will unveil the website.

There is also an opportunity to do some business networking beforehand at Business Buzz.

We would like to say a huge thank the to guys at the Business & Technology Centre for providing us with our space in which the event will be taking place and for supporting us with this challenge. Stewart is very excited and we’re all very grateful!

Stewart Speer looking very excited for CodeRaiser outside meeting room 4

You can follow the event as it unfolds on twitter @Code_Raiser and use the hashtag #coderaiser13 to tweet us words of encouragement to keep us going!

If you wish to sponsor us for the event you can do so via our website All donations and sponsorship money will go straight to Home-Start Stevenage.