The MUTT Board: The Streamlined Steps and Why It’s Necessary 

As time passes, and people come and go, one thing stays the same at the Digital Corps: the giant board right outside the office. This eye-catching item is called the MUTT Board, an interactive touchscreen created by the developers at the Digital Corps. Since 2012, the Corps has used the MUTT Board to highlight fun activities and events around campus. However, many people only see the glamorous side of managing it.  

The MUTT Board is one of the most important Digital Corps creations. What some people see as a fun item to use between classes is really their first interaction with the office. To get a functional result, a lot of design and code prep is required, as well as communication between teams. 

The MUTT Board process can be separated into four streamlined steps, and each design starts the same way. 

Step 1: Idea Requests

Two students in front of a whiteboard drawing out ideas and discussing them.

Every design starts from a request from sponsors or leaders at the Digital Corps. Kiri Woodruff, a Master on the Development Team, reflected on her experience with these “technically difficult projects,” specifically the Color by Number project with Pete Davidson and John Mulaney.  

Kiri Woodruff, a Master Development Team member

“The process we had was a quick turnaround, I think we got assigned the project the week before it was supposed to be released… because the event was that Saturday, we had to get it done in two weeks’ time!”  

Requests can come at any point, and short periods to finish projects will not stop designs from being displayed. Even though request times vary between these types of projects, there will always be someone working on the project. 

Step 2: Designing The Assets

A picture of the MUTT Board displaying a kitchen design. There is a "Celebrate Black History Month" card on a refrigerator.

Once the idea and rough outline is made, designers tend to get involved in designing assets. In fact, some trainees begin by working on these assets because it is a great introduction to how their work connects with the other teams. 

From building gingerbread houses to making personalized pumpkins, all the graphics on the board are contributed by designers. Like the developers, designers can get short windows of time to turn around a design, so people are always working on what can be included. Of course, the code must bring the assets to life—and that’s when developers take over. 

Step 3: Developer Touch-ups

A developer typing out code onto a laptop

Creating a functional final product using complex code is important so the design is entertaining enough to interact with. Drew Heiss, a Development Team Master, talked about this principle during an interview about the MUTT Board’s history.  

Drew Heiss, a Master Development Team member

“That’s what the MUTT board does—it opens opportunities for collaboration in the Corps that you usually wouldn’t get in projects… build drag and drop systems, storing, and QR code stuff. It was awesome!”  

For projects like a photo mosaic wall, nearly 600 photos can be taken using the board’s camera system. The developers need to be capable of handling that level of information and any errors that form as a result. The final step happens once everything the developers work on is ready for review! 

Step 4: The Final Reviews

Before any projects can be displayed, team leads typically get the final say on what could be improved or if a design is ready for release. If the design still needs some additions, the team lead might tweak certain elements or have it reviewed again, but if the work is ready then the design will be updated for anybody to use on the MUTT Board. 

Behind the scenes of just one design are layers of team building, communication, and code. Each step is necessary to create the polished design you see, proving just how important the board is for other people and Digital Corps students. 

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