One of our main inspirations came from the topic on the harm of social media. Growing up, we both found Instagram to be a safe place to post the fun you had with your middle school friends. The truth is, social media is evolving more and more to have hidden traps - be that the influx of targeted advertisement, unrealistic beauty standards, or another harmful effect. We wanted to put to paper - or rather to code - the ways we help ourselves to deflect the harm of social media and address the struggles we know because of social media. Our group knows that the hurt social media can cause is real, and that everyone deserves to have something looking out for them. We hope this app could be something that people could reach out to in the future.
What it does
Our app combats the negative effects of social media by tracking social media app usage, sending notification reminders to take breaks, providing activities for social media breaks, raising awareness for the negative effects of social media on mental health, and providing mental health resources.
How we built it
Our group decided to work with Swift, mainly on XCode. This decision was made because of the ActivityDetector- an API that didn’t actually make it into this version. We knew that writing the kind of mobile app we wanted would be a new coding environment or language experience, so we chose early to give us the chance to make Technica a learning experience. We started off by going through the main tutorial for creating an IOS application. We chose IOS for the ActivityDetector we found but also hoping that a less generalized path might be easier to learn. After the tutorials, we laid out some of the structures for the application before changing to another format to get the navigation bar utility we really wanted. It took many youtube videos and searching, but we managed to integrate as much of the application as we could before the deadline.
Challenges we ran into
It was really difficult to accept that we weren't going to be able to create all the functionality we had thought we might have been able to. We were very lucky to have been able to present a finished product at our first hackathon last year at Technica and not being able to reach that bar felt disappointing. Luckily, we know that trying something new can be just as fulfilling as making something in a framework you already understand. While expanding our horizons, we had plenty of bumps in the road when trying out swift. With the many different options for configuring a mobile application, the guides we found for the functionality didn’t all fit together. This meant that what we built out before getting the navigation bar had to be reintegrated in an entirely new way. It made it hard to make recognizable progress on the application. Luckily, we were able to accomplish some of what we wanted to pass the navigation even if it didn’t end up perfect.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We’re very proud of the passion we have for our topic and the leap of faith we had in ourselves to try building a mobile application. Reading through potential topics, we didn’t think we had found a winning topic until we started talking about the ways that social media was harmful. Ads that prey on vulnerable people and the way self-worth gets twisted alongside social media presence made us burn with the wish to change the ways things are. It was amazing to feel inspired. On the technical side, we are proud that our group was able to take a brand new language and develop something out of it. Adaptability is important with technologies changing and evolving so quickly, and we’re proud we were able to wrestle and conquer the skill of adaptability at Technica.
What we learned
During this hackathon, we learned a little about diving into new tech and confidence in ourselves. Obviously, we learned that a whole new realm of coding might not be able to be learned in a day - not that you can’t try! Swift kept popping up surprises in the ways it worked and kept us reevaluating the way you can build code and an application. Less of a focus in this project, our group also saw aesthetics from Swift - it was interesting to learn the ways this language was able to visualize the application as well as the capabilities of XCode’s simulations. It was amazing to learn how a little confidence in yourself helps keep away doubt throughout the project. We found that a bit of confidence (and maybe some pixie dust) can mean the difference between seeing a “failed” project and a really cool learning experience.
What's next for MindfulMagic
With more time we would create a Login/Signup page in order to have accounts on the app, create functioning app usage tracking, set up alert notifications for social media overuse, add more content in the raising awareness section and more content in the social media break section, and embed videos rather than provide links to the videos.