COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a novel strain of coronavirus that has affected the lives of millions of people. This virus is like nothing the world has seen before and is a historic event that we are all experiencing. Many people are experiencing drastic shifts within their daily lives causing uncertainty, anxiety, and fear. We began thinking “how can we create a community that brings us together during a time of isolation?”
What it does
Voice Over Virus is a social media-based campaign dedicated to bringing each individual experience together to start a conversation about the social, personal, and emotional impact of COVID-19. We encourage patients, caregivers, and anyone whose life has been affected by the virus to share their journey and words of strength by tagging #VoiceOverVirus through posts, photographs, and videos via social media in order to help and empower others who may be going through something similar. We believe that collecting shared experiences will provide a sense of community, and a space to destigmatize aspects such as isolation, mental health, and sickness.
Our campaign is supported by VoiceOverVirus.org which serves as the anchor for the campaign and will be used to drive engagement through various means such as showcasing existing stories, statistics, resources, and eventually, polls that will not only engage our users but additionally inform how we can evolve and provide for this community in the future.
The website is a Progressive Web App (PWA), such that on iOS and Android smartphones it can be "added to home screen" and when invoked as such is almost indistinguishable from native mobile applications.
How we built it
We began by ideating the user journey by creating user flows and sketches. From there we utilized Figma to create high fidelity screens while keeping our users at the forefront of the experience. We developed it as a PWA using Svelte UI framework and deployed it on the Firebase serverless platform. It makes use of Firebase hosting, realtime database, and cloud functions. There are several integrations with social media sites (Twitter, Instagram, etc), mapping API's (mapbox), and COVID-19 data APIs. Also, on the backend, it uses NodeJS for certain batch tasks.
Challenges we ran into
With a short timeline and a big goal, it was inevitable that we would face bumps in the road along our journey. Through resilience and active communication, we were able to overcome the following challenges:
- Lack of access to desired API’s
- Several API’s are not ready to be consumed by third party sites such as ours (lack of “CORS” headers)
- Insufficient time for implementing several real-time and interactive features
- Restrictive API's that allow limited freedom for utilization outside of their platform
- Getting in contact with influencers to help us spread our message
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- A live working website created in less than 48 hours.
- Live working integrations to Twitter and real-time Covid-19 data.
- Initial engagement in the campaign. One of the initial Instagram posts on the campaign received 1621 likes and 42 comments. See the post here.
- Establishing ourselves and creating content amongst several social media platforms
What we learned
We learned about the importance of community interconnectedness and how to encourage closeness during a time of isolation by inspiring individuals to share their experiences through text posts, photos, and videos. We also learned the process of creating a platform that allows our community to engage with carefully curated user flow dynamics as well as color themes such as blue and turquoise which represent integrity and communication. As we come from diverse backgrounds, members of our team learned how to improve our collaboration and communication skills as we brainstormed, designed, coded, and implemented our project. We have taken tremendous strides since day one of our project and we have learned to love the process as much as the outcome.
What's next for #VoiceOverVirus
We plan to continue the social campaign in order to grow the community and reach our goal of 100 posts per day over the next 30 days. We will create seed posts to encourage people to share their story. We also plan to personally outreach to people who have shared their stories to join the community and include our hashtag. We will continue reaching out to influencers and celebrities to amplify the movement. Various enhancements are planned for the website including integration with other social media sites, micro-surveys, and polls that will lead to further engagement and data collection, including positive statistics.