The idea of PB & J first came about when we identified the problem between the interactions of people with disabilities. We found that the chief issue was actually that there is not much interaction at all, or if there is, it is a neutral or negative experience. People coming from different backgrounds and facing different problems do not help each other out and show a lack of empathy for each other. As well, people with disabilities often find themselves in relationships wherein they are dependent on somebody else to help them battle the daily obstacles they may face, physically. To handle this despairing issue, our group brainstormed many ideas, one of which eventually became this website.

What it does

Our revolutionary website allows users to create a profile with basic information, including their name and location. Users are able to enter preferences specifying who they would like to connect with. For instance, a person with visual impairments who is able to walk can seek the assistance of a person who is in a wheelchair but is able to see in order to go shopping. Moreover, a person who faces a rare disability can meet up with someone else who has the same condition, so they are able to get emotional support. Our website returns a list of the matches that best suit the preferences of the user, and they are able to chat with the person they choose.

How we built it

To build this platform, we used Javascript and HTML to bring our ideas to reality. We created a back-end that sorts the user’s matches based on their preferences, and coded the GUI of the website. In the front end, we have a login system in which potential user can make an account to match with those around them. We implemented a profile system similar to that of Facebook to make the overlay simple and easy. It is also important to note that our website will be easily accessible for people with different disabilities, and forms when signing up are very simple to navigate. It can be scaled later in order to allow users of our platform to communicate with each other and exchange friendly comments and small talk.

Challenges we ran into

One issue that we faced is that we had difficulty with establishing our sorting system. Another problem is that we needed to account for local and global variables, including language inclusiveness and geographical impact on our features. We also had issues working around privacy issues, as being a social media website we face many issues involving data storage and cybersecurity. At first, we wanted to use a government-issued ID to verify one's disability, but this brought up issues related to storing and protecting sensitive information. Finally, we had to determine how we were going to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This is to make our website inclusive for everyone and make it easy to navigate.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are very proud of how much we’ve put into our creation over the course of the 24 hours. Foremost, we have implemented a very visually appealing GUI on our website, and also brainstormed a lot of concept logo designs, eventually deciding on a very visually appealing one created by Suhana. Furthermore, the code utilized in the design of the website has been iterated by Dhruv and Sufiyaan. Finally, our pitch, which incorporates many different aspects behind the creation of this product and showcases data which supports the creation of this project was put together by Suhana and Matthew.

What we learned

While working on our project, we learnt a lot about the daily challenges that people with disabilities tackle. We discovered how they face a lack of understanding and co-dependency in their relationships, and just how difficult it is for them to receive the assistance of people without disabilities since there is a shortage of volunteers to help out. Through this project, we also learned how largely inaccessible most common city areas are for people suffering from debilitating disabilities.

What's next for PB & J

In the future, we plan on working on the website more to optimize the present features including the GUI and log in/sign in function. We also want to add more features including chat, friend requests and forums and groups for people to communicate with each other. We would also like to upscale our app to an international level so that people with disabilities all around the world are able to communicate to share their stories and make long-lasting connections with peers.

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