We find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, a social revolution, and a relentless partisan battle as the 2020 presidential election approaches. Now more than ever, we suffer the repercussions of unreliable Twitter trends and the inability to see the perspective of those across the aisle. Facets has been designed to combat these exact struggles.

What it does

Through this app, any user can either enter or choose a particular issue that they are interested in understanding. Users can also choose to enter their personal opinion on a matter to see which wing they would identify with and to see alternative perspectives on the matter. In this era of misinformation, Facets has made a firm commitment to solely using credible sources, stemming from reputable news organizations. This app is judgment-free, allowing for those both new and returning to the political sphere to develop or reevaluate their political and cultural stances on controversial issues.

How I built it

This iOS app was built using swift, the IBM Watson tone-analyzer, and the AWS Textract, as well as OmniGraffle. The IBM Watson Natural Language Classifier was used to categorize the statements entered into their corresponding political stances, allowing for the code to identify alternative views for the user to understand. AWS’s Textract was used to analyze files from several news outlet databases to determine appropriate articles for the user to further understand said alternative views. The UI of the app was designed from scratch on OmniGraffle, a diagramming and digital illustration application specifically for macOS and iOS.

Challenges I ran into

Swift is an ever-evolving language that took time for me to catch up to. I was also completely new to IBM Watson’s Natural Language Classifier and AWS’s Textract, but both proved to be very useful in achieving my desired outcome. This was also an app that I created solo, so it was a bit of a time crunch trying to implement every facet of my design.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Mainly, I’m proud of overcoming the challenges I faced. I am also very pleased by the fruits of my labor in both the UI and the backend, and am especially proud of myself for taking the time to build an app that I truly believe could make a positive impact on the world.

What I learned

Aside from furthering my understanding of Swift, I learned about how important it is for everyone to be given the opportunity to choose their side on an issue themselves, without the peer pressure and toxic environment that social media platforms endorse.

What's next for Facets

I hope to add more sources of information (perhaps youtube videos and podcasts) and to increase the list of issues that the user can learn about.

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