Submit a solution
The challenge is finished.

Challenge Summary

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants your help to design an Android app. There's a big problem in U.S. waters called cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms. These are widespread growths of tiny aquatic plants (algae) that degrade the quality of the water for humans and wildlife. High concentrations of cyanobacteria pose a serious threat, and the lower concentrations are just gross. The EPA is asking TopCoder to build an app that will help environmental planners and scientists to browse and compare satellite images of cyanobacterial blooms. What will the app look like and how will it feel to use it? That's where you come in! We're asking you to propose visual concepts for the app to guide the next stages of software design and development.


Round 1

Submit a design concept for the Android app.

Round 2

Revise and refine your design concept in response to checkpoint feedback.


The EPA is the U.S. federal agency charged with protecting the environment. They are concerned about the proliferation of cyanobacterial blooms and they want a tool that will help environmental policy makers and scientists to view satellite images of actual and potential bloom events. A bloom is a significant concentration of cyanobacteria that may grow in size and density until it threatens other life forms by poisoning them and starving them of oxygen.

The attached zip file contains sample images from different places and times. Users are interested in performing various actions:

  • survey a large map for cyanobacterial blooms
  • zoom in for a closer look
  • compare current images to past images
  • compare one location to other locations
  • scan rapidly through space and time in search of bloom events
  • examine detailed information for a location: what are the geographic coordinates and what is the level of cyanobacteria here?
  • mark locations of interest for future study
  • import alternate imagery (see the attached files) and superimpose them on the primary satellite images; alternate images may be the same size as a satellite image or they may be much smaller

Doing all of these highly visual actions on a small screen poses a significant challenge to user interface design. That's why we're looking to you, the graphical wizards of Studio, to take the first steps in the app design process. We want you to use your illustration skills and visual imagination to propose attractive, effective usage concepts.



We're soliciting concepts for the look and feel of the app. What exactly does that mean? Well, it's pretty open-ended. The amount of work we expect you to do is roughly the same as for a storyboard contest, but you have a lot more freedom in the style and content of your design. What we are not looking for is a UI kit or a final set of app screens. We're expecting a visual document that will guide our technical software designers when they start to precisely define the business requirements and work flows of the app.

You can deliver sketches, diagrams, annotated screen mock-ups, maybe some interesting UI elements that you've dreamed up. You don't have to write a substantial amount of text, but a label or two would help. Arrows and icons are fine substitutes for words. You can make a cartoon. You can make a chart. Make whatever graphics you feel are necessary to convey your idea of what the app should look like and how people are going to use it.

We've told you the basic functions of the app. Now we're asking for creative ways to make it happen on a phone. It's up to you!


Target audience

In order of importance:

  • Local decision makers
  • Federal policy makers
  • Scientific community members


Judging criteria

Look: Does your submission offer an attractive design scheme?

Feel: Are you proposing good ideas for navigating the app and viewing satellite imagery?

Pocketability: Is your concept well suited to the screen of a mid-sized phone like the Nexus 4?

Awesomeness: Are you inspired and innovative?


What to submit

Submission: PNG images of your design concept.

Source: Source files.

Preview image: 1024 x 1024 screenshot in JPEG or PNG format.


Final fixes

You may be asked for minor changes to meet the stated requirements of this contest.

Please read the challenge specification carefully and watch the forums for any questions or feedback concerning this challenge. It is important that you monitor any updates provided by the client or Studio Admins in the forums. Please post any questions you might have for the client in the forums.

Stock Photography

Stock photography is not allowed in this challenge. All submitted elements must be designed solely by you. See this page for more details.

How To Submit

  • New to Studio? ‌Learn how to compete here
  • Upload your submission in three parts (Learn more here). Your design should be finalized and should contain only a single design concept (do not include multiple designs in a single submission).
  • If your submission wins, your source files must be correct and “Final Fixes” (if applicable) must be completed before payment can be released.
  • You may submit as many times as you'd like during the submission phase, but only the number of files listed above in the Submission Limit that you rank the highest will be considered. You can change the order of your submissions at any time during the submission phase. If you make revisions to your design, please delete submissions you are replacing.

Winner Selection

Submissions are viewable to the client as they are entered into the challenge. Winners are selected by the client and are chosen solely at the client's discretion.

Challenge links

Screening Scorecard

Submission format

Your Design Files:

  1. Look for instructions in this challenge regarding what files to provide.
  2. Place your submission files into a "" file.
  3. Place all of your source files into a "" file.
  4. Declare your fonts, stock photos, and icons in a "Declaration.txt" file.
  5. Create a JPG preview file.
  6. Place the 4 files you just created into a single zip file. This will be what you upload.

Trouble formatting your submission or want to learn more? ‌Read the FAQ.

Fonts, Stock Photos, and Icons:

All fonts, stock photos, and icons within your design must be declared when you submit. DO NOT include any 3rd party files in your submission or source files. Read about the policy.


All submissions are screened for eligibility before the challenge holder picks winners. Don't let your hard work go to waste. Learn more about how to  pass screening.

Challenge links

Questions? ‌Ask in the Challenge Discussion Forums.

Source files

  • Layered PSD files created in Adobe Photoshop or similar
  • AI files created in Adobe Illustrator or similar

You must include all source files with your submission.

Submission limit

5 submissions

ID: 30034600