Inspiration

Connecting with real people in person inspired our team to redesign the social media experience. We noticed a lack intimacy of modern social media. When we open any form of media, we have to sift through so much noise to get anything of value. After an hour or so of sifting through selfies, political rants, and memes, you realize that you missed out on a great event that all of your friends attended. With that in mind, designed bump.

What it does

Bump compels users to grow. To build your network, you must connect with people in person. At any given time, your feed is made up of events hosted by your friends. The location and duration of the events are easily discernable. Interacting with the event brings up all of the posts related to the events and the attendees that you know. Each event is an open invitation for connected people to get together. Grab a beer, coffee, throw a frisbee, you name it. When you open bump, you can easily find events near you with actual friends of yours. No noise, no problem.

How we built it

To encourage future cross-platform development, we made the front-end with React-native. We focused on an iOS implementation to get the project off the ground. The app is location driven, so we had no problem focusing solely on the mobile platform.

Physically meeting people is one of the central themes of Bump. To encourage this, users can only grow their network by scanning another user's unique QR code. We double check the legitimacy of the connection by ensuring they are geographically close.

We built our back-end from scratch for high flexibility. Starting from whiteboards, we designed a primitive database abstraction layer and built an API on top of it. This entire process was developed using Node.js with the help of PostgreSQL and PostGIS. We host it all on our a dedicated server.

Challenges we ran into

First and foremost, the size and challenge of our idea weighed heavy on us throughout the 36-hour competition. We had to work hard to stay motivated, creative and positive.

Back-End: Working with Node's concurrency model was a unique challenge. Designing an authentication scheme from scratch was challenging in and of itself. However, the resulting flexibility was fun and well worth the work.

Front-End: None of us had developed using React-native before. So, we had a fairly steep learning curve in the beginning. Despite knowing some form of native development language, it was challenging to adapt to the process of React-native which made UX additionally challenging. Our unique authentication scheme gave us many headaches and forced us to refine our implementations regularly.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are very proud of building a functional version of Bump. It was a struggle to bring the idea to fruition, but well worth the effort. Because of its apparent viability, we will continue work on the project throughout the foreseeable future.

Originally, we intended to use Firebase for our back-end. However, we ended up building it ourselves. Successfully taking on a from-scratch back-end is a huge accomplishment.

We successfully built an application using React-native. Consequently, we are better software engineers and will build bigger, better things in the future.

What we learned

We learned an incredible amount about UX design, React-native, database management and real-world problem-solving.

What's next for Bump

Our team is passionate about Bump and entrepreneurially driven. We will continue building the application over the course of the coming semester. Once we can get it to the App Store, we will introduce it to the Lawrence community and test its feasibility with the vibrantly social Lawrencians. After that, who knows; at the very least, we will enjoy the journey!

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