Making friends is hard. Making friends in a world where everything is done through screens or six feet apart is harder. With physical social hubs like lounges and dining halls shut down temporarily or restricted, online social hubs are crucial centers for community building.

What it does

The site provides an online social hub for students and alumni to gather and chat casually within departments or within interest groups. In addition, the site also has a matchmaking function which allows students to meet other members of the community that share some common interests, but with whom the students may not have crossed paths previously. Another application of the matchmaking algorithm is the option to match students who have little in common, and therefore likely would not cross paths on campus, and allow for the chance to foster an unlikely friendship.

How we built it

We first used Adobe Xd to create a skeleton mockup of the user experience. Then, the team divided into working on the frontend and the backend of implementing the project in GitHub.

Challenges we ran into

Most of the challenges we ran into involved lack of experience or time or both. None of our members are very advanced programmers although our skills do cover a wide range of abilities. In particular, the final site we are imagining is something that definitely cannot be done in one weekend, but our goal of demonstrating the crucial aspects through code and the full concept through Adobe Xd was much more feasible

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are really proud of the comprehensive Adobe Xd mockup of our long-term vision for this product. We are also very proud of the implementation of the mockup that we finished including the proof of concept for the algorithm and the privacy settings.

What we learned

We learned a lot about algorithms and backend development. We also learned some practical soft skills in working together on a project where none of us are in the same physical location and not all of us are in the same time zone. For a project with such a short time limit, such restrictions on how and when we can meet could have made progress impossible, but by being flexible and taking advantage of every moment we had together as a team, we managed to make significant progress, surpassing our initial estimate of what we expected to accomplish.

What's next for Consociate

Next, we hope to do user testing on the mockup and on the website. In addition, we would like to survey users for their input and to get a better, more comprehensive list of interests/hobbies/topics for the program to offer. After rounds of user testing and refinement of the concept, eventually, we would like to host chats and conversations for users who are matched on the site.

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