Despite the endless technology at our fingertips, gradually losing touch with old friends is a feeling all too many of us are familiar with. As our lives get busier, it is easy to make excuses about not having enough time or energy, and as a result, we lose valuable members of our community. We wanted to create a platform to solidify and strengthen these connections. ‘ReachOut’ is a social platform designed to unite us in common experience and encourage us to stay in touch with those we value.

What it does

One question sent to everyone, every day

Each day, a single question is asked to everyone on ReachOut. Each person’s unique response and emoji reaction comprises their ‘status’ for the day. By asking each person the same question, we foster relatability, and give people a common experience (much like Wordle). Further, we choose questions designed to be insightful, without being too nosy, that can help spark conversation, add meaningful dialogue, and reinforce connections in a community.

Quickly share what you’re up to

By opening the feed, you can see all the responses for your friends quickly and easily. If more friends respond, just hit the refresh button and see their replies come flying in!

Quickly and Easily reach out and chat

At the end of the day, ReachOut is meant to spark conversation. That’s why it has chat buttons for all your friends, and allows quick response to someone’s status. Whether it be for congratulation, commiseration, or hanging out, the goal is for people to re-engage with their existing connections.

How we built it

We used React Native to launch ReachOut as an iOS app, keeping in mind the convenience of messaging on a phone. Firebase was used to provide data storage and real-time updates as well as user-authentication. We also used Figma to mock up ideas, explore our vision, and complete the design of our product.

Challenges we ran into

Both of us were new to React Native, so learning a new tech stack was quite a challenge. Additionally, linking the app to Firebase and learning to update and query proved difficult as well. There were also many moving pieces with each different screen and Firebase collection, and it was challenging to combine them all together.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Being able to create a functional app for our first time using React Native was very exciting! Additionally, creating an updatable feed that accurately returned the status of your friends was very rewarding to finish. We think the product idea is very promising, and the designs created are good steps for the future.

What we learned

We learned a lot! Firebase authentication, querying, and database storage were all new skills we picked up. This was also the first time we made an iOS app. Finally, we learned a lot about teamwork and brainstorming as well as how to come up with viable product plans.

What's next for ReachOut

We want to create a more polished product! Our goal is a high fidelity app that can be used by people around the world. We have a lot of ideas for features such as implementing voting for the next question of the day, adding more features to our ‘status’, and improved ways to get in touch with people. However, we also want to collect user feedback and learn about what we can do to make a better product. In doing so, hopefully we can grow a user base and start a community that helps each other and makes the product better.

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