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December 2015—December 2016

Comet was a private instant messaging service that I designed and developed over the course of a year for my Year 12 Major Design Project (MDP). Facebook Messenger was widely used across my high school campus, but few students were really aware of the highly invasive practices employed by Facebook. My aim was to start a discussion amongst students about our privacy online, and develop an alternative platform that emphasised privacy and security.

My First Web App

Comet was built using the Django web framework, with a sprinkle of support from for opening and managing socket connections. This marked the first time I had ever built a dynamic web application, and I couldn't be more proud of the result. I still remember the first time I managed to send a message to a friend via the service.

Landing Page

The messenger home page was my first deep dive into building a product page. It may not look like much, but I spent many, many hours painstakingly piecing this together by hand.

Messaging UI

This simple messaging interface was designed to be reminiscent of Facebook Messenger's web interface, where a list of previous conversations with people and groups are listed on the left.

If you look closely at the messages seen in the window, you'll notice they're utter gibberish. This screenshot was taken the first time I got messaging functionality working, and I never came around and took a more appropriate shot later.

Responsive Design

Comet was also my first time developing a fully responsive website. I knew that many people would want to use an instant messaging service on their phone, so supporting all screen sizes was a requirement from the beginning.

I was particularly proud of the way that the navigation becomes bundled up within a drop down menu on smaller screens.

Landing page on mobile

Sign up page


Mobile with navigation

News page on mobile

Generic docs page on mobile


Comet included an entire sub website for documentation. However, since the website never went live, I never felt the need to fill anything out here. It was more an exercise to explore designing a search experience.

I remember being hugely inspired by at the time of creation, although I'm sure that website has changed significantly since then.