As individuals that regularly communicate to others virtually using chatrooms, we all came across a common issue. When having a group conversation, there was simply too much going on and it was hard to keep track of the discussion that was occurring. It was especially hard to keep track of responses when a question was asked to a group as the responses would quickly disappear in the conversation. Thus, we decided to develop a website and mobile app that would solve this issue that commonly occurs when having a group conversation. In addition, we realized the need for both simplicity and greater interactivity so as a result, Dico was born.

What it does

Dico increases the efficiency of group conversations as it combines simplicity with interactivity to effectively organize the conversation into easy to understand "graphics". The website has a secure username and password system, powered through firebase. The user can create an account much like he/she would for a messaging application. What differentiates us, however, from other messaging applications is our quick response graphics. We initially ask the user to select a type of conversation. The type of group may be for health and wellness, volunteering, a study group, a lunch group, or any custom conversation. From there the user will have specific features open to them, such as adding a graph of your physical activity that people can add themselves too. Or a quick survey system which allows an individual to pose a question to the group, and in which the group can simply tap on a option to reply that message. For example, a user could asked their group whether they wanted to go out to BJs, AppleBees, or TGIFT, and instead of waisting time to type a response, and cluttering the shat feed the user can simply click on one fo the options and have their opinion condensed into one coherent comment. This is similar to the features on facebook messenger, such as adding a GIF or a thumbs-up icon, but significantly more versatile. By incorporating these ideas of sharing what is going on in your life, an individual is not only more encouraged to workout or volunteer, but also to provide a greater impact on the world through efficiency.

How we built it

In order to create our website for Dico, we used various platforms which enabled us to create a cohesive backend structure to handle the user input load. We used Java, XML, JavaScript, and JSON to create the backend portion of our mobile application. Both the website and android application interact through the use of the PubNub api. This includes the use of the PubNub API for real-time messaging integration. We created an all original UI for the website using Adobe Photoshop CC, and used invisionapp as a basis for the android application.

Challenges I ran into

We ran into challenges using the PubNub API, because often times connection between our mobile app and website crashed because of invalid characters in the chat feed. Also, when trying to interact with the dynamic images (the graphs and polls), we found that different computers produced different responses back. We solved the problems we faced through hours of debugging and simply put, perseverance.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud that we were able to make a fully functioning messaging app, as well as incorporate an idea as useful uploading a photo/video. At times we felt like this would have been a better application for a 48 hour hackathon, but we did not abandon our app and accomplished our goal. Accomplishing a goal after endlessly struggling is always the best form of satisfaction.

What we learned

We learned to connect both an android application and a website through a professional API. We also learned how to use instant data transmitting, and incorporate an organized multi-user social networking application.

What's next for Dico

We hope to publish this on Google's Play Store in the coming days, after improving our UX and adding more interactive graphical features.

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