September 22, 2014

ADC2: Here Comes the Judge(s)

adc1One major change in the way the Android Developer Challenge 2 (ADC2) is being conducted, compared to the original, is in judging. As before, there are two rounds. However, this time, the public plays a major role in those rounds of judging.

Round One is where the public — and only the public — winnows the roster of submissions down to the top 20 in each of 10 categories, for a total of 200. Round Two also accepts input from the public, with the public’s vote counting for 45% of each application’s score (the remaining 55% will be from a panel of judges).

To judge applications, an Android device user will first download a judging app, then use it to download and install apps to judge — the judging app chooses the apps randomly and is the means by which the judge submits ratings.

It is rather likely that the official judging panel for Round Two will look a lot like the judging panel used for the first ADC — a mix of Android folk, handset maker staff, wireless carrier people, and the like. They will be a rather sophisticated set of users, well versed in what can and cannot realistically be accomplished on a mobile platform.

The key question is: who, among the Android device users, will elect to be a public judge? After all, convincing them is well more than half the battle.

My guess is that, compared to the official judging panel, the public will be more…ordinary. Sure, any number of Android app developers and people like the official panel will judge via the public channel. However, it’s possible that the contest judging may become popular, particularly if there are benefits to the judges (e.g., public judges are entered into a random drawing for some prizes). Not every Android device owner is a developer or wireless aficionado, and so they will judge apps based on their own backgrounds.

We may find out more about this facet when the full terms and conditions of the contest come out in June…or we may not, since judge compensation might not be part of those T’s and C’s.

In the first ADC, the focus was on feature coverage — a significant portion of the judging criteria was centered on how many Android features the application used, and how well. In the second ADC, the focus will be more on “what will the average Joe or Jane appreciate?”.

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