TW: Sexual Assault
Living on a college campus, especially one like Santa Clara, it feels like we hear of new cases of Sexual Assault weekly. Coming back to campus hearing of 30+ reported SA cases was truly shocking and instilled fear across campus. After protests and calls for action by students and parents alike, it still seems like there was a lack of drastic action to protect victims and students.
We hope to change that through the implementation of Loka. Having a community-generated heatmap of locations near college campuses where previous incidents have occurred will be able to help individuals get transparency about where SA is happening and hopefully prevent SA by informing students of where hot-beds of wrongful activity are.
What Loka does
The Loka App shows the user a map of their surrounding area. This map is a heat map that highlights areas where sexual assault cases have occurred. Red areas on the map mean many cases have occurred in that area, while green on the map means a few cases have occurred. The goal of this app is for people to feel more comfortable in the area surrounding college campuses and to empower them with information about what is truly happening.
If a user wants to anonymously report an assault, they can click the “Add an Incident” button on our homepage. They will then be asked for the location and date of the assault. Once they click the “Submit” button, their submission has been recorded and added to the heat signature map.
On the homepage, there is also a “Sexual Assult Resources” button which will tell the user about Loka and provide them with Sexual Assault Resources if they need them. With many college campuses having inadequate resources for students this feature is essential to provide users with crucial information.
How we built it
As we developed our initial ideas we used photoshop to create mockups of how we wanted the app to look and what features we wanted to have within our app.
We then took those ideas to Figma and Xcode to develop a functional and non-functional version of our app. This allowed us to see what key points we were mission and if there were any key changes we missed in our initial design stages. Using Figmas we made all the pages of our app and linked them together using buttons and transitions. Our non-functional version of our app used Figma, and through the use of transitions, interactive maps, and text inputs we have a detailed mockup of exactly what we imagine the app to look like. To create a functional version we used Xcode and SwiftUI to try and make our app a reality. We attempted to use SwiftUI for the look and feel of the app. We also used MapKits from Apple within the Loka
Challenges we ran into
A major challenge with this app concept is privacy. We understand that many Sexual Assault survivors do not wish to come forward and completely respect that decision. This is why we decided that our app would only ask users for their location and date as an input, we wouldn't as for any personal information. This way, the data can help prevent future assaults while maintaining the privacy and wishes of the users.
Practically making the app was a whole other challenge. As two freshmen and a sophomore with little coding experience, this was a whole new level of coding and working. As a team, we were able to learn how to code in SwiftUI, how to use APIs, what an API even is, and even details about interactive features of Figma. Our lack of experience seemed daunting at first, but throughout the day and night as we got more into our idea and project we started to pick up on these new skills and got excited as things came together. We didn't let our lack of experience hold us down.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are very proud of our idea. Sexual Assault is something that happens all across America, and as college students, it creates an unsafe culture and environment to live and work in. Creating something that can both help that problem and improve the safety of our peers really excites us.
We are extremely proud of what we accomplished throughout the 24 hours. We came in with no expectations and left with a killer app idea and some great new skills. We are just proud that we were able to put our heart into the project and finish it our strong with a demo and a lovely presentation.
What we learned
Like I mentioned above, we as a group learned a lot! Besides the cheesy, anything is possible if you put your mind to it, we learned practical skills too. Throughout our team members learned how to make beautiful-looking mockups for apps, they learned how to make interactive Figma projects and demos, and learned how to use SwiftUI and Xcode. As a team, we learned incredible things in the last 24 hours.
What's next for Loka App
Next, we would like the Loka App to expand beyond Santa Clara University and be used in other Universities around the country. Sexual Assault is not a local issue and we hope to expand nationally if able. Additionally, in past universities, this sort of app would be useful in big cities or nearly anywhere. With growth will come expansion and we hope to let that happen soon.
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