Inspiration

With the advent of coronavirus, many people have been stuck at home separated from friends and family. Many people have also found a general decrease in productivity. People feel lonely, depressed, and unmotivated. When many things have become significantly harder, it is difficult to find motivation to do everyday tasks. This was our inspiration for Pandemic Productive.

What it does

Pandemic Productive is a simple gamified task manager website that encourages social connection. Upon creating an account, users are given access to a task list, where they create tasks and assign them point values (encouraged to be based on the difficulty/length of the task). Upon completing a task, their account is given those same points. In the dashboard, users can join groups varying from large ones that might have many members from around the globe (like our example group for students) or create smaller groups they can invite friends and family members to. In these groups is a simple leaderboard, showing the points each member has. Positive, game-inspired motivation has been shown to increase productivity, and this combined with the simple social aspect of competing against friends or people from around the globe struck us as a promising approach.

How we built it

Pandemic Productive is a simple website built using HTML/CSS, JavaScript, and some limited SQL. We also used Firebase to help with authentication, the database, and deployment.

Challenges we ran into

Initially we had a slightly different group, but one member ditched us, which left us slightly in the lurch. We were able to find a great fourth member to help fill the gap. We also struggled slightly with the database and authentication implementations but were able to use Firebase (for which there was a convenient talk given, and one of our members had prior experience) to help with both those issues.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

To be quite honest, we're exceedingly proud of how the website looks and feels - for us, once it started coming together and we got some of the major pieces of functionality working, it was so gratifying seeing it work together as a coherent whole. We think it will be something that people can have fun with and use to combat the loneliness and lack of motivation that social distancing has brought with it, and help, in its own small way, with the pandemic.

What we learned

This was our first hackathon, and we struggled through a few difficulties, but we learned a lot - from the format of hackathons itself, to rapid design, implementation, and testing to stay within the time constraints, to coming up with a creative, fun idea that was still plausible, to working together as a coherent team. All of these factors have prepared us both for future hackathons and future coding projects we do - and we're very excited with what we've built :)

What's next for Pandemic Productive

We'd like to add a system that the user can opt into that produces a notification on top of whatever application is running at the time reminding them of their tasks regularly. We also think making a mobile app version for Android and iOS would be a useful step. One thing we struggled with due to time constraints was making the groups reasonably social - right now it's just a leaderboard. Adding a small chat so people can use, e.g., the hours system together or chat while keeping each other accountable, could be a really nice touch to add.

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