Although it is important for people to be informed of the bills and legislation passing through Congress, many don’t. One of the biggest factors behind this could be that the lengthy bills are intimidating and difficult to get through. Furthermore, even though many people do know their legislators, they never contact them. There may be a lot of reasons for this: too difficult to find a way to contact them, too much work to contact them, too confusing to write a proper message. Adding to the inconvenience, there is also no website that addresses both bills and representatives, even though they are very much related.
What it does
Upon searching for a bill, people can understand what the bill does and how does it affect them. Upon searching for a Congressperson’s information, they get their contact information so that they can send an email, call the office, or message them on social media. The website also offers advice as to how one should approach writing a message to a Congressional Representative in order to to voice their concerns.
How we built it
First we outlined our layout and discussed the features we wanted to include. Check out our planning doc here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16EonxKxXpYAnYQ5xfbKhbSAPs_gVuVQV1HMEASKWT6w/edit We used bubble.io to design the front end of the solution
Challenges we ran into
Making the web scraping bit was difficult/is incomplete as bubble.io didn't come with direct support for it, so figuring out how to implement it was too difficult to figure out in the given timespan.
Although bubble is really well designed, it did take us some time to understand how to work using it, as visual programming differs from the usual coding we've done in the past.
Along with the learning curve, we got access to collaborate on bubble a little later than expected which left us with less time to work on the back end bit of our solution.
Some time constraints due to different timezones
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We were able to come up with a solid/feasible plan and were able to finish the front-end aspect of it.
What I learned
We learned web scraping, how it works, how to connect the front end to the backend, and how to use bubble, a visual programming language
What's next for Accessabill
We want to use Google Cloud to implement Accessabill for everyone to use as well as finish off the web scraping portion to make Accessabill fully functional. We also want to expand our offerings to include more tips for different kinds of contact, such social media messages or phone calls, and a directory where bills are sorted by which house committees they were submitted to.