Devilishly Simple Brainstorming

Scheme was inspired by a common problem at hackathons: the inability of teams to come up with, aggregate, and decide on ideas. As our potential ideas racked up, we had no tool to organize discussions about ideas, determine which ideas were most supported in the team, or quickly determine how viable our ideas were.

What it Does? (Or, how can Scheme help develop your Evil Plans?)

Scheme is design-first brainstorming. Unlike our competitors, we approached our application from the top-up: our primary question was: "how can we make brainstorming intuitive and simple?"

Anyone can create a team on the Scheme website. Once they input a team name, they're given a link to share with their teammates. Anyone with the link can register and begin contributing to the team page.

On the team page, there is an interactive list of Scheme names (Idea names) on the right. Here, users can select which Schemes they'd like to see more information about, and "favorite" schemes that they like.

Members of the team can also easily add their own Schemes (potential ideas) by pressing the "+" button in the top right corner of the app. This brings up a sleek and straightforward form to input a name and description for the new Scheme.

Finally, when one clicks on an Scheme idea, they're presented with the full description of the scheme and a comments section, which they instantly contribute to at any time.

So, how did we build our Scheme?

We built Scheme in Ruby on Rails version 5.0. This gave us access to real-time updating via Websockets and easy deployment on Heroku. For the frontend, we used Semantic UI, HAML, Coffeescript, and SASS. Finally, we used Postgresql on the backend to store information.

Challenges we ran into?

Our biggest challenge was creating a sleek design that worked on different browsers. A significant portion of our time was spent creating an application layout that could be displayed accurately on many devices.

We overcame this challenge by keeping a tight-integration between designers and developers, with constant feedback after every change in the design or the frontend code.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of creating a fully-designed and functional MVP in 24 hours. We are confident that our product will help the Hackathon community grow in the future, and take pride in that.

What we learned

We primarily learned about how to work with new team members, and how to manage a workflow between developers and designers. Many of us either hadn't worked on large projects with others, or weren't familiar with the heavy connection between development and design. This hackathon sharpened all of our skills because it gave us an opportunity to gain more experience with real-world software development and team management.

What's next for Scheme

We want to grow Scheme by partnering with Hackathons around the nation and giving even smaller development teams the ability to simplify their brainstorming process. Our next goal is to begin acquiring revenue by partnering with enterprise companies who need brainstorming and management software for larger teams (with upwards of fifty people).

On the development side, our aim to convert Scheme's stack to one that takes better advantage of Websockets by implementing ActionCable. We also plan to upgrade Scheme's frontend by implementing it in Ember.js as opposed to jQuery.

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