#HOWIDC Challenge Winner: Design Lab by Carly Rounds

Attendees at the HOW Interactive Design Conference got a challenge from David Sherwin, and the stakes were big. The winner would get admission to next year’s interactive conference and a year’s subscription to Design TV—a value of $1,300. 

You can see David Sherwin’s Progressive Design Challenge slides here and download the challenge worksheets here. But here’s a summary:

You’ve been hired by a leading publisher of magazines to help them create a new kind of digital magazine, blending text, video, audio, photos, and data visualization. The publisher has given you free reign over the editorial direction and design for this digital magazine.


  1. Must be fully accessible and usable via browser on touch-enabled phones, tablets, and PCs. 
  2. Dynamic presentation of content. Just “Tap, scroll & read, repeat” isn’t good enough.

People had to send in images of their sketches by the last day of the conference, and the winner was determined by Mr. Sherwin. 

And the winner was Carly Rounds, a designer with FHI360 in Washington, DC. “Carly really understood how to utilize responsive web design principles as part of her design sketches that would render well across devices,” David Sherwin says. Below is her winning challenge entry.

Design Lab

My idea is to make a publication for my in-house design firm, DesignLab360.org. We’re redesigning our website, and one of our aims is to get more involved in our local design community and the global development communities. We were initially thinking a blog would be one way to do this, but I think creating a useful and dynamic publication could help us connect with designers, obtain new clients, and get current clients excited about doing new things with us.  

I’m in a fortunate position in that everyone at my organization is completely dedicated to our mission. People spend a lot of time thinking about how to empower people all over the world to achieve their highest potential—whether that’s through health, environmental, civil or education programs. Our parent organization, FHI360.org, has a tagline of “Science Improving Lives,” so I was thinking we might name our publication “Design Improving Lives.”


1. Case studies of project design

  • Outline of the work we did for a specific project. Include photos of process, final product, product in use in final environment, and reactions from beneficiaries. 
  • We could realistically publish quarterly.
  • Includes text, photo, video, audio, multimedia, docs, photos and video from the field, data visualization from all the research we do.

2. Design Lab’s favorite things

  • Our team shares delightful design tidbits or “candy” with each other, and we’d share our best-ofs with our readers
  • Update weekly
  • Text, photos, multimedia

3. Conversation pieces

  • We’d identify a problem we see in the developing world or our own communities, posit some solutions or ways to think about it, and ask the readers to contribute ideas
  • Update quarterly, ongoing moderation
  • Text, photo, video, data visualization

4. Client highlight

  • Introduction to one of the many amazing clients we work with, the work they do, who they are, and how they utilize us to attain their project goals. 
  • Update quarterly
  • Text, photo, data visualization 


  • Thesis statement: Design Lab — Social Change Design for the Developing World
  • Title tag: Design Lab — Design Improving Lives
  • URL: www.designlab360.org/designimprovinglives
  • H1: We champion the value of design in creating positive social change to improve lives


  • Name: Public Health Expert
  • Bio: Masters in Public Health, works in development, understands value of communication to empower people to achieve their potential through behavior change, social media savvy, compassionate and inspired by stories 
  • Demographics: educated; socioeconomically stable; most live in DC, some in other major cities, between ages of 25 and 55, well-traveled and politically aware
  • Goals: To improve improve their work, be entertained
  • Needs: Stay abreast of new practices and solutions, stay connected to development community, to be aware of what is going on in their field

Congratulations, Carly! We’ll see you at next year’s conference.