Way back in the land of one month ago, my roommate and I had one simple goal: to go surfing with our friends. Seems easy enough, right? Wrong. Organizing an outing, even with close friends, is crazy difficult. In this case, we had to scroll through our contacts to reach out to a group adventurous enough to surf, wait for responses, coordinate everyone’s schedules, get hard commitments, organize transportation costs… this list goes on and on. As we thought more about this, we realized it wasn't a unique experience.

Planning is hard. Whether you’re trying to get friends to go to the movies with you, organizing an outing to San Francisco, or even finding a time to get dinner on campus together, the process is always the same: guess who might be interested, make 50 “group chats”, and hope enough people say yes to make it a meaningful get-together. Not only does this incredibly monotonous process cause organizers to spend time and risk rejection by reaching out to people they guess would be interested, but interested people also miss out of great outings because they don’t know about them. In the end, these meaningful activities do not occur due to logistical challenges.

The two of us interviewed friends and came up with features for an app that could take care of the logistics to make those meaningful activities possible. Nate, Isaac, Austin, and I at HackTech, after tossing around a whole host of ideas from shared meals to banana art, I pitched them the app and they were totally game to bring it to life.

What it does

Mariposa is a two-sided social platform that can be described as Instagram for Events or Snapchat Stories before they happen. It allows organizers to post ideas for things they want to do with friends, choose which groups to make it available to, and receive instant feedback on the best way to make it happen. On the other side, it allows everybody else to see what's happening and avoid missing out on something just because they didn't hear about it in time, increasing inclusivity.

It functions as an app with a scrolling feed of potential outings that allows organizers to track interest in different times/activities and their friends to mark interest.

How we built it

We used Sketch to build out the design for the app, including views, flow, and graphics. We used a NodeJS server running Express and a MongoDB server for the backend and built out the front end using React Native.

Also, shout out to After's Ice Cream.

Challenges we ran into

One of the biggest challenges we ran into was deciding what to build. We spent a ton of time brainstorming ideas in all different sectors, flowcharting, researching, and circling back to the drawing board before deciding to build Mariposa.

Additionally, React Native was a bit new to us, and as a result, we spent a lot of time learning the framework and figuring out how to translate our designs in Sketch into code representations.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

What we learned

What's next for Mariposa

Cleaner UI, implementing feedback from test users and adding a feature that allows people to submit availability and find the best time for events.

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