Expect fluctuations in the numbers of visitors and submissions during a hackathon. Generally, we see three main spikes in site visits: when a hackathon launches, when the judging/public voting period starts, and when the winners are announced.
Eligibility. When a submission is entered well in advance of the hackathon deadline but is deemed ineligible, it’s good practice to contact the submitter and inform him/her of the reasons why and what steps need to be taken to make the submission eligible. Hackathon managers will have the ability to message submitters individually through the Devpost platform.
Updates. There are a number of default reminders that are built into the Devpost platform, which you can edit, disable, or add to in the Updates tab. It’s important to send out relevant updates at important stages of the competition (e.g. deadline reminders, submission tips, new resources available, changes in dates, submission deadline, when voting opens, etc.).
User Support. Answer all hackathon-related questions promptly via email or the discussion forum (ideally within 24 hours on weekdays). The discussion board is a good way to keep a pulse on how your hackathon is doing (i.e. are people asking for more time, having trouble, or asking more high level questions?). Note: If technical or site-related questions are sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, Devpost will respond.
Gallery. Consider waiting to publish the gallery after the deadline passes. Submitters can continue updating their projects until the deadline and doing so will make their submission disappear from the gallery until moderated by a manager again. Don’t worry too much if you see a lull during the submission period; it’s not uncommon for many of submissions to come in at the last minute.
Review. Build in a buffer of at least a week between the end of the submission period and the start of judging.
Testing. Requiring free access to submitted apps for testing and judging is common in software competitions – as you wouldn’t want to award a prize to an app that didn’t actually function as depicted in the video or images submitted. If this is something that you plan to require, you will need to also ensure that you give submitters direction on how to provide their app to your team.
The Devpost platform allows developers to upload installation files or provide download links – which are appropriate for most applications. However if you are accepting iOS apps which are not yet on the Apple App Store, you must give submitters a way to send you a test build of their app (as iOS developers cannot share .ipa files). We recommend using a free build-sharing service, such as TestFlight. Please see our Testing Guide help document to find out if this service is right for your hackathon and how to go about using it.