The pandemic has changed life as we know it. What our team has learned from the year 2020, most importantly, is that there is no “going back to normal”. How will we live in the future is determined by what we do now. We brainstormed ideas that could improve the general public well being, that could take the worrying off our shoulders, that could make going out safer for our friends and family. Finally, we landed on our app idea, in the hope to make the community a better and healthier place.
What it does
Health Comply is an app that allows you to rate a location based on how COVID safe it is for you, your friends and your family to spend time at this place. Unlike other dating apps, Health Comply has a strict focus on public health, allowing you to rate locations based on three criteria: cleanliness, social distancing and staff COVID compliance.
You can also look at existing ratings from other users, scouting out your next lunch destination using our search algorithm that recommends locations based on their rating and their distance to you. Found a unique location that no one else talks about? Be the first to let everyone know how safe it is by creating a brand new destination near you. Health Comply does the hard work for you so that you can feel a little safer in your next going out.
How we built it
We chose the Flutter framework for its clean UI toolkit and its ease of development and deployment. Our app has three main functionality: to rate, search and create new locations and ratings. The data for locations and ratings is is stored on the Cloud Firestore by Google Firebase, allowing us to build our app serverless. New ratings are stored on the cloud, and the existing rating is then calculated from the database. Search function query the cloud to find locations that met the requirement, sorted via a mix of rating and distance to the user. Creating new locations allows user to create a new destination on their phone that can be viewed by everyone, via live updating the database. All information is visualized by the map, made available by the Mapbox api.
Challenges we ran into
For some of us, it is our first time building a mobile application. But even for the most experienced of us, this project proved to be a challenging fit. From unfamiliar API errors that caused hours of headache, conflict merging issues that sparked emergency group calls, to sneaky logic mistakes that took us for a loop, we wrestled the app until the very end. Nevertheless, thanks to the early planning and collaborative team effort, we managed to achieve all the goals we set out, and have an app that is not only clean and functional but also extensible.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
-Clean, beautiful and intuitive UI
-Cloud storage structure that is readily accessed and updated
-Recommendation algorithm for safer journey planning
-Development and future plan
-Extensibility of the project
What we learned
Through this project, we learnt new ways of thinking about data and algorithms. Custom structure is made for locations for easy querying, and dedicated algorithms, such as the searching algorithm, are written to optimise the app for our data. Many frameworks we used were also new to us, such as using Firebase or building mobile apps, so experimenting with them was a fun opportunity to learn new technology that could be very helpful in the future. But most importantly, we all improved our skills in project planning, collaborative problem solving, and managing workload, skills that will stay with us and make us better team worker.
What's next for Health Comply
While the app is in a working state, our planned development of this product has just begun. Extensions include:
Machine Learning assisted COVID Safety Rating generation - We will be able to sift through data from Google Maps API and other geolocation data such as business hours, activity at a certain time, and reviews to create a default rating for a business which can then be amended by users.
Timestamp implementation - Adding a timestamp to when the ratings were made allow for more reliable reviews and useful logistics. By finding timestamps, we can determine the time periods over which COVID safety ratings are low and then recommend places accordingly.
Live Local Hotspot Tracking - Showing an indication on the map of where the local covid hotspots are.
We hope to build an app that can truly facilitate the conversation between people who are willing to go out to public and people are concerned due to COVID and motivate all business to adhere to stricter health standards.