Devpost is more than just a hackathon platform. They're also a rich and vibrant community of developers who share what they're hacking on.
After checking metrics and talking to users and the business team, it became clear that the majority of users were not coming back to the site after the hackathon. We also discovered that many users had trouble keeping up with what their friends had built.
After much consideration, we decided the best thing to drive engagement would be to build an activity feed where users could follow their friends and keep up with what they were making.
To begin I created a short survey of questions to gauge general interest and understand user's behavior in a social setting more clearly. I had 100 or so current users fill out that survey, and personally interviewed another 10-15 users. After that I felt like I had a good understanding of what our users typically expect from a social/feed driven site and the type of content they found interesting. Using that knowledge, I wrote a number of different types of stories that could be implemented within the feed. I took the five we felt would have the most impact and began wireframing different feed options with those stories as examples. Once I was done wireframing, I broke down the designs with the development team for implementation. When the initial work was done, I opened up the new feed to a select group of beta testers and worked with them to get initial feedback. I made some tweaks based on that feedback and we released the feed to the rest of the users a few weeks later.