We took inspiration from Yik Yak and Reddit as a way to communicate with the world in a sorted forum like manner. QuestionnAIR aims to provide the user with any region's answer to a question (in our app we refer to questions as balloons) they have, effectively giving them their chosen society's "correct" answer to their inquiry. A region (in our app we refer to this as a skyline) is chosen by the user and could be limited to the app users within a 50 foot radius or open to the entire world. For example, one could want to know what people think about the food at a particular restaurant, they could then release a balloon (place a question) asking that and only have the balloon (question) visible to user's within a 300 foot radius of the restaurant. The ability to set the ranges also allows for one to collect interesting data, for example, asking a question that is only viewable by those within New York. In essence, it is an anonymous social media app that allows one to ask questions to domains of their choosing in order to receive the socially acceptable answer.
How it works
Setup: A user creates an account with Questionnaire through their preferred method of email, Facebook, or Twitter. Upon signing up they are given the option to add friends who use Questionnaire to their friend list. A user is then able to ask questions, which we call balloons.
Asking Questions: Upon selecting a type of balloon, such as yes/no or multiple choice, they choose who is able to view the question, the skyline. At this point they are given 3 options - 1) To ask the question to their friends, either anonymously or not, by choosing "Friendly Skies" 2) To ask the question anonymously to a chosen radius around them by choosing "Local Skies" 3) To ask the question anonymously to the world by choosing "Global Skies" After making this choice the user selects a category to submit this question into, such as Health or Entertainment.
Viewing Questions: Users are able to view the questions that are available to them. They can sort these questions by the type of skyline (Friendly, local, and global). Once a chosen skyline is selected the questions within that scope are presented in an order based off the balloon's (question) popularity. Much like Yik Yak, users are able to add helium to the balloon (upvote) or deflate the balloon (downvote). Following the same algorithm Reddit uses, this ensures that good questions are highly visible and bad one's fall to the the ground where no one can see them.
Gamification: In order to increase user experience, we have added some game mechanics to the app. People love level systems and being able to see and track their progress, since it allows for a sense of accomplishment. Thus, we added a title system. The title system gives user's a title that is displayed by their questions, on their profile, etc. Title's are awarded based on the overall popularity's of one's questions. Their are 5 unique Title classes or paths that one can follow, and within each path their are 9 levels. The class/path that a user is on is determined by where the majority of their popular balloons are posted. For example, if the majority of one's popular posts are within the "Sci-Tech" category, they embark on the Android/Cyborg path where you start out as the rank of "Tin Man" and can rank up with increasingly more popular questions to title's such as "Inspector Gadget".
The title's also provide a certain level of utility besides being badges. If a user is a high rank, then they are someone who consistently ask great questions, which means they know and can recognize great questions when they see one. Thus, when they pump helium into a balloon (upvote) it adds more helium (points) to the balloon (question) than when a lower rank does. The same goes for deflating balloons.
Challenges I ran into
The biggest challenge we encountered is the time limit. We were unable to completely implement our ideas, and many additional features we had planned had to be left out due to the time limit. Another large challenge we faced was the geo-caching of questions. We encountered several issues while testing out this feature. We would place a question, walk out of the question's range and check the app to make sure the question was no longer viewable, then walk back inside the range to confirm the question's visibility. More often then not, while walking back into range, the question wouldn't reappear on the app. After much frustration and troubleshooting we realized the issue was with the refresh rate of the phone's GPS, which was fixable by simply increasing the rate.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I'm particularly proud of our application's design and encompassing theme. Visually, the app looks great. I'm also proud of implementing the geo-cached question feature. The first time we successfully walked back into a question's range and it reappeared on the app, I let out a childlike squeal of joy.
What I learned
Through the implementation of QuestionnAIR I have learned a lot about IOS development, Parse, Facebook graphic API, Twitter authentication API, and Apple's location manager. I have learned just what is possible in a 36 hour time frame and how rewarding it is to have something you can be proud of by the end of a hackathon. Finally, as this was my first hackathon, I have just how much fun and awesome hackathons are, as well as how little sleep I can function on.
What's next for QuestionnAIR
For QuestionnAIR we plan to finish implementing our planned features as well as add several additional features we brainstormed throughout the event. This would include things like further gamifying it, adding different skins/graphical layouts, and more.