Inspiration

The vast majority of the hurdles discussed by our subject matter experts are social in nature. People need to connect with people, find jobs, receive insights about services. Given the wide range of existing social media systems,and the generally high level of technical awareness by foreign-born individuals, the question became what it is about those platforms that fails to meet their needs.

What it does

HuddledMasses does not attempt to be a general-purpose social media tool; it sacrifices much of what is traditionally seen as value in social media in order to directly address factors that may limit their utility for these users.

It also does not try to apply heavy-weight technology to "save the day". It is a simple (albeit potentially evolving) platform intended to facilitate communities in working together.

How I built it

The current software is a proof of concept and a starting point. It is written in node.js and Angular, so once the UI is refined it will be accessible on a wide range of devices.

Challenges I ran into

I found the non-technical challenges to be the greatest. Because much of the problem domain is regulatory in nature (or similarly out of reach), and because I have relatively little knowledge of the potential user's needs, many potential projects had to be passed over simply for being too obvious ("if this were on the right track, someone would be doing it").

In technical terms, the environment and time-frame were of course challenging. I found that there were some gaps in my knowledge of the Angular CLI development tools, which has made this into a fantastic learning experience.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Maintaining focus in a challenging environment. Though I didn't make as much progress as I'd like, I did a put together a fair piece of software for a solo programmer in a 36(ish)-hour period

What I learned

I gained considerable valuable experience with the newer versions of Angular and its development environment. I also gained insight from the SME's about more of the issues that affect the foreign born.

What's next for Huddled Masses

I would like to get some feedback on the broader plans that are laid out (partially int he backlog, partially still in my head I suppose). If those with reasonable experience in the field feel that this could become a useful tool, then it may be something I continue to develop (albeit at a more relazed pace) until it becomes practically usable.

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