Inspiration

Our inspiration comes from seeing many in younger generations across America and the world not take the threat of COVID-19 seriously, and knowing that we are in a position to change that sentiment. We are a unique team of doctors, creators, developers, philanthropists, and volunteers teaming up to share fact-checked, scientific information through a cross-platform app and broad-reaching social media campaign.

This team is about more than just the app. We’re focused on making a real difference with export design and quick iteration, focused collaboration with medical industry professionals, and a driven network of social media influencers committed to spreading our message.

The app is one part of our broader campaign to spread awareness and encourage action, specifically among Millennials and Gen Z. Our team includes a network influencers across Instagram and YouTube with a combined reach in the millions who are committed to using their platforms to help encourage social distancing and combat this virus. We are aggregating their content and moving this campaign forward at our Instagram account.

What the app does

The I’m Making a Difference app has three purposes:

1. Stay Informed. We’re committed to providing the most up to date information regarding the Covid-19 and steps you can take to help protect yourself and your community. We source our information directly from doctors and other medical professionals we've partnered with who work at organizations like Seed Global Health, the NIH, and the WHO. This includes basic facts about COVID-19 and social distancing, info on how individuals can contribute, and important resources for how those in need can access help.

2. Stay Entertained. We’re providing a curated schedule of live, remote events individuals can take part in and interact with to stay engaged and active during social distancing and Stay Home directives. Users can discover workouts, live music, interactive talks, and more.

3. Take Action. We encourage individuals to join the community and make a difference by sharing the real facts, using their voices, and/or donating time and resources to the campaigns and communities who need it most.

How I built it

We built this app using react-native and Expo for the front end and a basic JSON data schema hosted in an S3 bucket and distributed through CloudFront. With this combination of technology we were able to produce a working build within 4 days. Over the air updates allow us to quickly iterate and improve as we grow.

Challenges I ran into

Our current and most pressing challenge is working with the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to approve our app, which is currently under review in both. Due to the (understandable) increased scrutiny for apps related to COVID-19, we have had to undergo an extended review process with Apple and Google to confirm that our information is accurately sourced. Given the value of getting this verified information into the hands of younger generations, we’re confident our app will receive approval shortly.

An ongoing challenge is structuring data efficiently so we can upload it to the S3 bucket that the app pulls from. Much of the data is manually entered into a formatted JSON file as we have focused on building the front-end of the app, and there is certainly room for mistakes to be made here.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

A small team (~3 people) building an app from scratch to producing an iOS and Android build in 4 days! We would not have thought this possible just a few months ago but current day technology (and plenty of dedication!) enables incredible speed for mobile development.

What's next for I'm Making a Difference

Grow Leveraging our expanding social media network to drive users to our app where they can learn, engage, and take action.

Improve Continual improvement of the app and campaigns as the global fight against COVID-19 evolves.

Planned Features

Localization Our initial release is focused on english speakers, but spreading accurate information around the globe is an aspiration we all share. We hope to expand this movement into new languages and locales.

Connect Profiles to Personalize Content Add the ability to connect Instagram/Facebook profiles in order to recommend more personalized events based on a user’s information.

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