Did you know that based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service, food loss at the retail and consumer levels corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010? Did you also know that in 2015, 13.5% of Americans (43.1 million) lived in poverty? These numbers are astounding and are the reason why we made our app. We hope that with MealRunner we can help with the distribution of food so that our neighbors can live healthier and happier.
What it does
MealRunner allows companies and restaurants to make a request for food. This request is accepted by a distribution center such as gleaners or a soup kitchen. Drivers can then see the request and get directions to pickup the food from the company and drop it off at the distribution center.
How we built it
We began the project by whiteboarding the design of the website on sheets of paper. We ended up with a map of about 10 pages we needed to implement. We both worked together to go through the project so that we may catch any mistakes right away to lessen our debug time. The end product is a flask app that uses sqlite3 for storage.
Challenges we ran into
The biggest challenge was the sheer scale of the project. We had so many pages to implement at first that we were very intimidated. However, we worked through it and simplified the project without needing to sacrifice too many features. Balancing feature integration and UI design was also a difficult challenge. Every single feature discussion was a debate about what we needed to have versus what we wanted to look nice. We did very innovative design strategies to get every single feature requested into the design while keeping the interface clean.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of the fact that we were able to finish the project, especially at this scale and with this much of a time crunch. We are also glad at how the UI turned out, this was the first time either of us focused on design as much as on implementation and we love the result.
What we learned
We learned a lot about product design and planning, especially in those first few hours where we just went back and forth on ideas and feature details. We also learned a lot about prioritizing tasks with a looming deadline. We also learned a little bit about what it means to have an eye for design when designing for many different types of users.
What's next for MealRunner
We are really excited to keep the project going as there are so many features that we want to add. Not allowing drivers to get paid, not properly confirming a shipment occurred, and not having a domain name are just some of our apps drawbacks. However, we believe it shouldn't be too hard for us especially considering how far we've come in such short time. We have the website hosted on a server however be sure to check us out at http://126.96.36.199 !