Talking about your experiences with people who understand and relate to them can be therapeutic and beneficial to your mental health as it can alleviate your sense of isolation and encourage a feeling of belonging. However, it can be difficult to find people with shared identities both in the real world or on social media apps due to stigma or a lack of visibility. We wanted to create a platform for people to share experiences to gain a greater sense of commonality with others.
What it does
Intersection is a social network with the sole purpose of connecting people to identity-based forums in which they can speak freely in a safe environment, share their story, engage in discussions, come across different points of view, and meet new people with intersecting identities.
When you join Intersection, you'll have the opportunity to add tags that correspond to your identities and experiences. Once you add your tags, you'll be able to connect with others with similar experiences through a customized forum that displays posts that relate to your tags. If you see a post you resonate with, you can comment on the post to show your support or further the discussion. Intersection also has built-in comment suggestions that can help you start a conversation.
In addition to strengthening your connection with those of shared identities, Intersection also encourages you to learn more about the experiences of those who are different than you. The discover page shows popular posts based on the number of comments across all tags for you to explore. You can also chat in a general chat room with other Intersection users.
Intersection will also give you friend suggestions based on how many identities and experiences you have in common. Lastly, the profile page displays your username, tags, bio, and posts. It also features a list of hotlines and resources for those who may need them.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
Although Intersection is a webapp that works best on a computer or laptop, our team worked on making it accessible on other devices, including mobile phones. This was a struggle that took over a couple of long hours and involved the rearranging of different aspects of the webapp.
Another challenge we ran into involved resetting the modal for posting stories. After posting a story, all the previous entries would remain in the input boxes. In order to reset the boxes, we had to set the form values to the values before editing or set the values to empty strings.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We put careful thought into the design and spent a lot of time designing the logo and wireframing the website. On the landing page, colorful animated circles in the background float up around, colliding and overlapping with each other at times, symbolizing the journey and the connections made by people who use Intersection.
We’re also proud of creating customized feeds based on users’ tags. We wanted to allow users to view stories from individuals who had shared experiences as well as introduce them to new stories to help broaden their perspectives and understandings of others.
What we learned
It was our first time using socket.io to create a real-time chat, so we had to learn how to send and retrieve information from the server so that everyone on the chat would see new messages.
What's next for Intersection
We hope to expand the features of Intersection to include private messaging and the ability to filter and sort posts. We plan to create algorithms to notify users of resources if their posts indicate an alarming need for help and to remove comments and posts that do not match the positive and supportive community that Intersection stands for. We'd like to implement the ability to block a user and a feature to autofill the comment response box with the suggested comment when selected rather than the user typing in the suggested comment.