We all considered our bookshelves at home, laden with neglected, dusty tomes, longing to be picked up by another avid reader and take them on an adventure. People needlessly buy brand new books when many their desired reads can be found on the shelves of their neighbours. In an effort to reduce waste and rebuild the community around books, we envisioned 'Bindr'!
What it does
Bindr provides a platform to connect with avid, nearby readers via 'Book-Ups' where they can swap, buy or donate 'pre-loved' books. Bindr takes an approach inspired by the famous Tinder user-experience ,of allowing users to seamlessly swipe through potential Book-Ups. When a book catches their eye, the user swipes right and can begin to converse with the book's owner and come to an arrangement.
How we built it
We chose Android Studio as our development platform, thanks to it's simple integration with our own devices. Essentially, the app consists of three main components (or 'fragments'): browsing book-ups, adding to one's own library of 'pre-loved- books, and messaging other users to organise book-ups. When users are adding their own books, they can simply scan the bar-code with their camera and Google's book API is queried to fetch all the details.
Challenges we ran into
Our main challenge was coming up with an original idea that championed elements of social-responsibility. We feel that Bindr achieves as any similar apps currently on the market are limited in location and functionality. We also had difficultly with the user-side of Bindr, and in the end, were unable to implement this in the given time.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We spend a significant portion of our time planning the UI, to provide the most seamless user experience possible. Many similar browser-based apps required users to manually search for books by their name or ISBN no. This is why we felt that mobile was the perfect fit and it allowed to take full advantage of gesture based UI interaction. Swiping (in a Tinder style) is demonstrably an intuitive user action, feeling completely natural, with the user receiving clear feedback for their actions.
What we learned
We all went into this as relative novices at Android Studio, with some of us never having programmed. We started to really get to grips with the fundamentals of Android development - specifically activities and their life-cycles.
What's next for Bindr
Super-Like! :) But seriously, we would like to see Bindr in a completely finished state with full user-communication capability. We have also discussed using recommendation algorithms to truly personalise the books that each user sees in their Bindr feed. It would also make sense to introduce Google Maps, making Book-Ups much easier.