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Competition aims to redesign missile alert system interface


    Submission to the “Hawaii needs yoUI” contest on The competition was launched last Friday and is offering a prize of $150 to the winner, $100 to first runner up and $50 to second runner up.

The conversation over the ideal user interface design of Hawaii’s missile alert system continues with a newly launched competition on

The competition, titled “Hawaii needs yoUI!” was launched last Friday and is offering a prize of $150 to the winner, $100 to first runner up and $50 to second runner up. So far, the competition, which ends Feb. 2, has more than 150 entries from throughout the globe, including the United States, India and Serbia.

“Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency recently caused thousands of families panic when it turned a regular drill into a Ballistic Missile warning,” says the contest brief. “There was havoc around the whole state. The root of it all — bad [User Interace] UI design.”

In the week following the false missile alert in Hawaii the morning of Jan. 13, HI-EMA sent the Star-Advertiser a facsimile of the menu options on the screen before the state employee who clicked on the wrong link.

Under a bold-face “1. State EOC” is a list of options that includes “DRILL-PACOM (DEMO) STATE ONLY.” That was the link the employee was supposed to have clicked on for the test. Listed farther below is the “PACOM (CDW) — STATE ONLY” link that led to the incoming ballistic missile alert sent to more than a million residents and visitors statewide.

Contestants with skills in graphic design, user interface and website design are instructed to create a user-friendly Emergency Commands page, making each command distinguishable from the others without changing the words, and to think outside the box. Contestants are encouraged to upload their entries online using #HawaiiNeedsYoUI., based in Sydney, Australia, is an online freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace which allows potential employers to post jobs that freelancers bid to complete.

>> For the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s full coverage of Hawaii’s missile alert scare, go to

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