After a difficult time of trying to find teammates with interests that coincided with our own, we decided to bring life into the team forming process. Thus #include was born.
What it does
include offers a convenient way to find teammates for a Hackathon that's as simple as a swipe of a finger. Through a Tinder-esque experience, you are able to flick through a collection of potential teammates and see skills and specializations of your fellow peers. In addition, you can find matches based on what you're interested in getting out of the Hackathon experience. Whether you're just coming to learn new skills, take home cool swag, or dominate the competition, with include, you'll find that you won't be alone. Once both you and a potential teammate swipe right on each other, you will be allowed to further communicate via a chat interface. This give you the opportunity to see if you are compatible beyond your profiles. This mutual swipe right requirement prevents unwanted interactions between users. As an added precaution, during the chatting experience, if you find another users' message offensive or harmful, a handy flag and block tool is at your command. Our flagging system works on a three strikes out rule which helps lower harmful user interactions. Once you've found the members of your team you have the option to add them to your group and you're free to meet up with them and be on your way to a great Hackathon.
How we built it
For our Android application we designed the layout with xml and coded our program using Java and the Android library. With our iOS application skills lacking, we had to find another method to show off our idea: thus we turned to Sketch, the Photoshop for developers. From Sketchs’ to Flinto, where the transitions and animations were added in, our system slowly gained traction. Once the various screens had been drafted, and the buttons and swipes all layered in, we imported the data for the profiles and spun up our final draft.
Challenges we ran into
We came into the Hackathon with little experience besides a working knowledge of Java. Because of this we had to think outside the box to successfully communicate both our interest in mobile application development on a team of novices. Through shear grit and determination, we powered through twenty-four arduous hours of coding, connecting, designing, compiling and testing to insure that our project was intuitive, desirable, and market ready at the finish. We ran into numerous problems with the Android Studio compiler. We fought bit and bite to create a flipping and swiping animation on our android application to no avail. Thankfully, our wireframe was able to successfully implement this interaction so that we could present include to the world.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We didn't die, and one of our most loyal teammates stayed faithfully awake to insure our creation could see the light of day. His sleeplessness gave our idea life; he is our Android Hero. This was also our first Hackathon, so to have a fully working idea before the 24 hour mark is a major achievement to us. We are also proud of our design being simple without need of any instruction. In addition, we are also proud of our app name. We think incorporating a coding pun to bring a bit of fun to our sleepless night was part of the reason we enjoyed it so much.
What we learned
We found that an enormous amount of confidence and diligence are required to see an application all the way through. Coding is hard work. Sleep is necessary. We learned the importance of designing an application for users. The time we spent on a teams showed us that programming is never an individual effort. This Hackthon emphasized that, when embraced, having a diverse set of group skills will lead to success.
What's next for #includeMe?
Include was a start, but there is much more than just what’s on the surface. In the future, we seek to expand from just Hackathons to any group meeting or convention. At larger scale events, the event organizers would be able to choose what categories the people that are attending can fill in. The next step would be building an algorithm to sort like minded and suited people into higher priorities in the swipe feed. Include could grow from a small CS centered Tinder clone to a fully-fledged large scale group forming and meeting application, used by a wide variety of people at events across the globe.