Dave Powers

I create things with words and/or code.


The “breakable toy” at Launch Academy is a project worked on throughout the duration of the course, used as a tool to learn web development across the stack. While we are learning to program, we’re encouraged to try new ideas and techniques, most likely breaking the application during the process (which we can then roll-back to a working state with git, of course).

Coming from a video background, I wanted to choose an area that I was familiar with, that I would be motivated to work on during and after the cohort ends. Especially, I wanted to create something that I would personally use and get value out of.

Typical Process

In a post-production environment, countless revisions are made to works in progress, as clients request changes to a project, and editors make said changes and post for approval. Rinse and repeat until the client is happy, and the video, or “spot”, as they say in the business, is approved.

In my experience, the review process mainly consisted of several emails being sent back and forth between parties, often while “replying all” to ensure everyone was able to take a look. To see what changes were requested, an editor would have to dig through various email chains, trying to find the edits that were necessary to make. This process becomes more complicated as more versions are posted, and more people are weighing in.

Enter SpotCheck

To make this cycle more efficient, I decided to focus my efforts on SpotCheck. In my early planning stages, key features include showing a project status at a glance (“Approved”, “Needs Changes”, “Needs Review”), commenting on each video, and allowing specific “projects” to be viewed only by certain individuals. The goal is to have a simple interface to check which projects need work, and to quickly identify what that work is. This keeps all information in one central location, rather than scattered about in various emails.

video page wireframe

Above is a rough mockup of what a video page may look like, created using Balsamiq. I’ve created several user stories and acceptance criteria, and am prepared to pare down the feature list in order to complete a project that does one or two things well.

I anticipate being challenged by design decisions, as I am looking to create a straightforward and simple workflow. Other sites aim to solve simialar problems, and I hope to differentiate enough from them without delving into feature creep territory.

All in all, I hope to use my past experiences to build something that I would be happy to use. If others also get value out of it, that would be even better.