The technology industry has been growing at a very fast pace that it has been normal for us to use in our daily lives. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same amount of exposure to it, especially to the internet. In addition to that, with the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the need for affordable and reliable broadband internet service was devastating since most work and school was done remotely, especially here in Hawai’i. This has been brought to our attention which led us to create the Broadband for Hawai’i. We believe that through this platform, it could help educate our Hawai'i community about the uses and importance of the internet and how we all get the benefits from it.
What it does
Broadband for Hawaiʻi is an interactive accessible online platform that allows people to learn more about the internet. It is a website that allows users to get engaged with different classes that tackles different topics about the internet and why people of Hawaii should get broadband.
Broadband for Hawaiʻi is split into 3 main roles: General Public, User, and Admin. Through these roles, we can
- The general public has access to some class components such as viewing sessions, events, and lessons that allows them to view the classes without logging in. They are also able to view more information through the list of resources on the site.
- The user role can register for classes and sessions, create a personal profile, and accumulate points. They are enabled to view lessons and then test their knowledge by taking quizzes that provide feedback when completed.
- Logged in users are motivated with a point system. They can gain points by taking quizzes and answering problems correctly.
- The admin role is in charge of creating classes, quizzes, and sessions. They provide all of the resources and information for these that the users can then access. Admins have access to data analytics collected from the user’s profile data and survey data.
How we built it
This website was based on the meteor application template from the ICS department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. Our team used Meteor, React.js, Bootstrap UI, MongoDB, and Google APIs to create our application.
Challenges we ran into
In planning the website, we had some ideas on what we want our website to look like and get parts assigned to each member. However, since not everyone has the same time commitment and that some even got sick, things got pushed back and in our final week, we had to rush creating most of the important features we wanted to have.
Early on, one of the challenges we faced was how the application would be structured on the back-end. During the planning phase, having a solidified database architecture is essential so the whole team is on the same page and we can easily cater towards revisions during the development phase.
Looking back on the rules and what is required for this challenge, we almost forgot to add the gamification of the application. With our members’ quick response, we were able to add it up and even added up more features to allow a better user experience.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Everyone in the team has done an amazing job on their tasks since everyone was able to work on their parts on time. Being able to catch up on the parts we miss or have to add, the team were able to fill that gap which is something that we are proud of.
In terms of technical achievements, allowing the admin to create their own classes and implementing a point system to gamenify this interactive learning experience. We also added ADA accessibility to our website such as alt text for images and aria-labels. For those that are technology neophytes, we added a Quick Start helper on our landing page and classes pages to help them know how each component works. Google maps was integrated into the events, to allow another form of clarification for event creators and end-users. Event creators can attach a pin to the location meet-up for end-users to find it through map or street view. For security purposes, our team also implements the 2FA or two-factor authentication for an extra layer of protection for each account. The admins can also visualize the data collected from the demographics and surveys of the users. This information could help address underlying issues people have in the community about technology and broadband.
What we learned
Our team learned how to meet our client’s requirements and quickly adapt to changes needed to be done in a short amount of time. This challenge taught us about our own strengths and weaknesses as developers which helped us get through this HACC. Another important lesson we learned was that it is very important to understand the problem, and what needs to be done. Being organized and having a plan on what features need to be done on what day, is something very important for the team.
What's next for Broadband for Hawai'i
Broadband for Hawaiʻi’s next step is to be able to implement it into a mobile version so that is easy access for those that don't have computers and for those that are on the go. In the future, when this can be made into a mobile version, we also hope to work on it to make it downloadable that can be used by anyone as a mobile app.
In order for this to be used by many, our hope was for it to be used by the Department of Education to share to schools and to communities in Hawaiʻi so that it could reach those pockets of community members. Also be utilized by the internet providers here in Hawaiʻi to help educate those that are planning on affording their own internet connections.