One of the teammembers in our team was born with a disability which resulted in him having to amputate his legs at the age of 1. However none of his friends have ever seen him in a different way but sometimes the environment can be rather cruel due to reduced accessibility. This makes him look and feel vulnerable. In order to reduce this he came up with an idea of an app that brings the power to the users.
What it does
We are creating a community app where people with disabilities can share experiences about their bar and restaurant visits. They can rate the bars based on different accessible properties such as reachable counters, accessible stairs or elevators and toilets. They can easily share 3d pictures of the places so that you can get a rich preview about what you might encounter before you get there as we are seeing a disability as unique depending on who you are asking and their previous experiences in life.
How we built it
We started by understanding what is the problem we are solving? Then we ideated how will we solve those problems? After that we drew prototypes and tried to see how could a flow look for the app.
We then started with building the iOS app and translating the flow into storyboards. As we built features on iOS we created backend endpoints and as time went on we prepared our backend more and more for production. From just hosting it on Heroku with temporary data to having a persistent database.
We created an iOS app and a nodeJS backend. We deployed this to Heroku and had a Mongo database and we store images at Microsoft Azure for consistent data.
Challenges we ran into
Our biggest issue we encountered was moving from a temporary data to a persistable database. One of our developers fell asleep due to the problem but he was revived and continued to fix the issue. The problem was rooted in that the backend had an old version of the SailsJS framework and the database adapters had depended on the newer sails framework. At first, it was hard to understand why we were getting errors but eventually, as we fixed all the other problems, we ran out of options and eventually we just updated everything and it solved itself then.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We have managed to identify a certain target group that is usually looked over and bu that we created an app that can help a part of society that sometimes get neglected and hopefully we can make a great impact in their lives.
What we learned
We learned to plan our work and to divide the work between us which led to an efficient workflow filled with communication.
What's next for HandicAPP
As this is seen as an MVP we are looking into adding functionality that puts even more power to the user as they will in the future be able to comment the restaurants and upload their own panorama pictures. Deployment of the app is not yet decided, either we will focus on deploying it as a private company on the App store and Google Play Store or we will pitch it to different municipalities in Sweden in order to raise the issue and create incentives for restaurants and bars to become more accessible.