The rise of COVID-19 cases around the globe has isolated people in their homes. Ensuing social distancing, however, has contributed to a different pandemic: loneliness. According to a Jama Network Journal, adults are three times more likely to report that they're in severe psychological distress during this time. So, how do we connect people to prevent loneliness when isolation is their only option?

What it does

In response, we’ve developed a local book trading app, Book Drop, that facilitates contactless in-person and online social interaction by helping users give out books they no longer want in exchange for books they do want to read. Our only requirement is that users include handwritten notes or drawings of book-related or encouraging content during each exchange.

First, we’ll recruit volunteers interested in starting and decorating a box. In return, they’ll receive service hours and 12 of Book Drop “credits.”

To elaborate on our credit system: New users will start off with 1 “credit” that’s used to request books. Correspondingly, users who drop off the request book with a handwritten/hand-drawn note will receive 1 credit. The note can also be featured on our home page based on their content, appearance, and sincerity. Users with featured notes will receive 1 credit.

When users receive a book request from someone, they can choose what time and which box to drop off the book using the built-in calendar widget in our message function. After users drop off their book, they’ll confirm it through the calendar to notify the requesting user, who will be then required to confirm they have received the correct book and a handwritten note when picking up. Afterwards, Book Drop will reward the dropping user with one credit, and deduct one from the requesting user. Lastly, based on their trading experience, both users will rate each other, which will be publicly visible on both user’s profiles.

How we built it

We built the interface through Figma with some elements designed in Photoshop and Canva. We attempted to implement by coding on Swift.

Challenges we ran into

Idea wise, we brainstormed back and forth to make the idea more comprehensive and feasible. We also struggled to code the app on Swift, since we did not have any prior experience.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud that we came up with a highly practical design that connects people better than just virtually but stil remains contactless as to protect people’s safety during COVID-19 pandemic.

What we learned

We learned how to brainstorm feasible ideas and how to turn words and descriptions into interfaces and designs on Figma. We also learned about the fundamentals about Xcode on Swift.

What's next for Book Drop

The next step for Book Drop will certainly be implementing the design through programming on Swift. We will also need to do more research on cloud computing, machine learning, and data analysis.

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