Among many other ideas, adventures to our minds meant escaping reality, stepping out of our comfort zones, trying new things, letting loose and giving up control, and learning to live in the moment. The theme of adventure is so open-ended, and yet we all shared the same vision: traveling. As college students, we often enjoy being able to escape the reality of our day-to-day work style and find new means to relieve stress. Though traveling is one of the most exciting ways to achieve that, students tend to steer away from this direction due to the amount of time and planning that is involved in this process.
After the prompt reveal, as a team, we talked about multiple different ideas, including finding ways to solve the issue of inclusivity, poor and lack of education, and such. We even considered the futuristic aspects of involving AI, for instance, elements of ChatGPT, to help come up with an app that helps diagnose when a patient is sick, or to enable VR options to make the disabled community feel more welcomed and belonging. Yet, none of these ideas seemed to be vague and applicable to a large pool of users, but rather to a niche group of people which limits the usage of our app. This is one of the main reasons why we stepped away from these ideas and chose to continue with Localist.
Solution + How It Works
As the problem statement lingered around, my team and I agreed that tour guides are a great way to learn more about a city, however, a local resident would know better about their town. We believe that locals would better represent certain smaller details, such as street vendors, flea markets, and such, which a traveler would better benefit from rather than just the common sites visited in the city. We wanted to approach this in the aspect of being able to create an app that is used as a platform to connect travelers and localists together, where new friendships can be formed with people that have similar personality/traveling traits as you do! This is done through the quiz feature that we provide while onboarding a user. Based on the user’s preferences, once they log in, the user is presented with top matches of their localists who have similar travel traits as they do. This enhances the experience of the user while ensuring they have a fun time learning/doing the activities that interest both parties.
Our app provides users with three different packages to choose from: the 3 hours, the 6 hours, and the 9 hours package. Once a package has been selected with a localist and paid for, the app opens the chat feature which enables the traveler and localist to converse and plan out their trip! Since this app is just a platform to help better the connection between the user and the localist, and since the localists are individual contractors, who go through a certain level of inspection to qualify as a localist, the app is not responsible for any negative experiences that are encountered by the tourist. Under extreme circumstances, we anticipate having a helpline feature that users could use to get in contact with the team and their issues!
Challenges We Ran Into
Some common issue that we ran into was figuring out all the details to make sure there were no loopholes left. I believe this process took us almost 6-7 hours to ideate, work, and improve, and even with that continuous process, we felt that we left out certain aspects of our projects which should definitely be addressed. Another aspect was time management! As hackathons are still a new concept to us, we tried our best to learn, and enjoy this process while also trying to get as much done in the given time limit.
Accomplishments That We're Proud Of
Something that my team and I are proud of was how well we worked together. We had no issues delegating tasks and talking through the designs for our prototypes. We also feel extremely happy with our idea for this app since we all enjoy traveling and since we all face this issue, having a solution sounds like something that would make traveling now a fun, and easier experience.
What We Learned
Overall, in the past 24 hours, we learned a lot of technical skills! We enjoyed taking away key designing skills through Figma, and frontend through HTML+CSS. Nonetheless, we still believe that the biggest takeaway from this experience was working as a team together as we were able to create great memories and enjoy learning together in a competitive nature! We learned how to be efficient, plan and execute an app in less than 24 hours! It was a great experience, and with the idea we have, if given more time, we believe that it would be a great pitch and can be used as a day-to-day app utilized for traveling:)
What's Next for LOCALIST
Since it was our first/second time participating in a hackathon, the pace of our progress was not as fast as we hoped, however, we are still proud of the end product that we present to you! With more time, we anticipate adding in a few features, such as an SOS button so that if a tourist is in need of any help, or feels unsafe at any point in time during their time with their localist, pressing that SOS button will immediately contact the local police and share the user’s live location. Secondly, we anticipate adding a review feature for our localists so that when users book packages, they are better informed of what they can expect for a smoother transaction. Lastly, we also wanted to integrate a translator within the app since we do anticipate this app to be used globally, and for a smoother transaction between the users and our localists, we wanted to add this feature for those who needed it!
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