With the current pandemic and quarantining measures, many individuals feel like their life is passing them by. Restrictions for personal safety and health have hindered people from seeing their extended family and friends, and even prevented them from going to their favorite places and doing things they like.
Being students in college, we’ve seen firsthand how our peers feel like the years that are supposed to be filled with self-discovery, active learning, and great memories are feeling meaningless, unmotivated, and lonely. It’s no surprise that mental health has been negatively impacted.
However, our team at Cross Off is full of optimists. We wanted to create something that showed our quarantining friends and family that they can still enjoy their time and find purpose during these months, safely.
What it does
Essentially, Cross Off is a bucket list web app. Based on your location and keywords in your bucket list items, Cross Off will suggest local businesses to complete your items while advising you how to complete it safely. Cross Off also highlights black-owned businesses, so you can further support your community while squashing FOMO!
The best way to try something new is to experience it with someone else. That’s why for each bucket list item you have, Cross Off will show you friends, family, and (if you are open to it) other people from your community who have that item in their list as well. Start a conversation to make plans and experience something new together.
Not sure what to do? No worries, Cross Off has you covered. We show you some of the most popular bucket list items in your area so you are never drawing a blank.
You’ve always wanted to go skydiving, so you add that to your bucket list. You see that someone in your community, Hannah, also wants to go skydiving. You start a conversation with Hannah and both agree on a time and day to go to Bungee Adventures, a skydiving place nearby. Leading up to the day, you and Hannah talk about your fears and why this activity is on your bucket lists. You meet at Bungee Adventures the day of and follow the safety measures for social distancing. You see all staff and customers are wearing required face coverings suited for skydiving. After both you and Hannah leapt off a plane together, you message each other to reflect on the experience. Then, you head back to Cross Off to cross off skydiving. You begin planning for your next adventure.
How we built it
We started with a responsive website template and we edited it to fit our needs by removing irrelevant sections and adding our own. We began first with the profile page, where our list sits at the top. Then we added a section below that for our suggested activities section. Next we built a demo page for one of the activities, which was skydiving. Continuing with our responsive template base, we removed unnecessary sections and added in a spot for finding people to make plans with. Lastly, we wanted to try integrating an API, so we chose the mapping API from ESRI ArcGIS to show pinpoints of the top 6 results for skydiving from Yelp.
Challenges we ran into
One of the challenges we ran into was figuring out the COVID-19 safety measures of local businesses that we used to populate our suggested activities section. For our example for Skydiving, one of our team members contacted the business suggestions from Yelp and asked about the safety measures in place. We also researched how to support local businesses safely (like ordering takeout, and live streaming a concert from home). To address this in the future, we will have to scrape safety measures from the businesses’ Yelp pages or website, and perhaps even work directly with each business to find out how they are being conscious of the pandemic.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
For most of our team members, this is our first time participating in a hackathon. Honestly, we came in planning to attend workshops and learn as much as we can about the whole hackathon process. However, we felt compelled to address a problem that we are all experiencing right now. Two of our members have never built a full-fledged app or website before. We are happy with what we were able to accomplish in the given amount of time, and are extremely proud to be submitting a project for the first time.
What we learned
While building Cross Off, we learned a lot as a team, including:
- How to work together (figuring out working schedules, delegating tasks based on strengths)
- How to collaborate on code (lots of balancing between screen sharing and sharing code on GitHub)
- The importance of APIs (their role in making our lives easier, how to integrate them, reading through documentation)
- Building an MVP (figuring out which features we wanted to include, deciding the scope of our project, agreeing on what is important to us)
What's next for Cross Off
Cross Off, by no means, is a finished product. We believe in the impact of our project, and we want to continue building it out. This includes:
- Integrating the Yelp Fusion API to automatically populate the business suggestions for each bucket list item, which will then pass in location information to our ESRI map.
- Using a database to store user information.
- Tapping into social networking APIs to generate a list of friends/family to make plans with.
- Creating a feed that allows users to post about their completed bucket list items (including adding pictures, tagging other users, etc.)
- Partnering with small business owners and black-owned businesses to come up with bucket list items to suggest to users that they can then complete at their businesses.
By continuing to work on Cross Off, we would like to empower users to accomplish their goals, from the things they’d like to try to the things they’ve only dreamed of. We hope you join us on this adventure!