Near the beginning of the hackathon, we were inspired by Steward Friedman's speech about culture and ethnic diversity to find a solution to cover the immense cultural gap people face when visiting other countries. We decided that rather than compiling the seemingly infinite list of culture, traditions, and beliefs, it would be better to have experts talk about their own cultures (a.k.a people native to their respective regions).
To tackle this issue, we designed a information crowdsourcing platform which takes the country being discussed, aspect of culture, an Imgur link to an image, and a short insight on the images relevance. All this information was pushed to the Parse database and we retrieved the information and showed it a visually appealing, Instagram-like, structure. We also added a way to narrow down categories from countries to a cultural type (Ex: Mexico -> Food OR America -> Recreation), in order to get more specific results. As all our information is stored on a Parse database, we are also able to retrieve it and show the images along with the descriptions on ANY platform (web, iOS, Android).
Currently, there are 4 benefits of this app: (1) Low Management: Mostly everything is done automatically except for the deletion of non-accurate entries and inclusion of new countries. (2) Platform Independent: Parse allows us to retrieve data on any platform. Right now, we only have a web client because a web app can be run on iOS and Android but Android/iOS native applications are also possible. (3) Clean UI: We were inspired by Instagram's simple, clean, boxlike design because the information is easily viewable and interpretable. (4) Crowdsourced: We can get mass amounts of data from people around the world as soon as we launch our link.
In the future, when people travel to foreign places and want to quickly learn about simple customs and traditions of that place, they can quickly go onto our app, scroll through the feed of information, and imbibe whatever they wish. An German man can become skilled in eating while sitting on his knees while in Japan. A British businessman can go to India and not humiliate himself by using his left hand to eat instead of right. The possibilities are endless and with this sharing of cultures, we can solve global miscommunication between cultures.
PS: We also use Leap for scrolling purposes.