The inspiration behind this app comes from our personal experiences when we first joined UCL. We all have inhibitions and hesitations before approaching other fellow students, in order to start new friendships or professional networking for that matter.
What it does
When a student in UCL joins UCL Clubs and Societies, they get email notifications about the different events being organised by these socieities. We wanted to cash-in on this opportunity, where people gather based on certain common interests, to help break the ice and give the students enough information that they need to start a small talk.
How we built it
We followed a design thinking approach, which involves 5 stages: Empathise-Define-Ideate-Prototype-Test
- Empathize: Since the app is based on our own experiences as the students, we started with brainstorming about the problems that we face as students in UCL.
- Define: We came up with a host of issues and singled out on one idea using the Harris Profile.
- Ideate: In this phase, we came up with low fidelity paper prototypes to figure out what screens and user flows would we include in the app.
- Prototype: We built high-fidelity wireframes/ visual designs using Figma and converted it into a clickable prototype. Parallelly, we started with the development phase and started coding the app using next.js with mock-apis serving as the backend.
- Test: We tested the app within the team. Some amount of bias might have cropped up in this stage but given the time constraints, this was the best approach to be followed at this stage.
Challenges we ran into
Since this is a novel solution, there was no scope for competitor analysis. Also, the time constraints did not allow for extensive user research or proper usability testing. In fact, we had to build quick iterations without sufficient feedback.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
The fact that we were able to build out a high-fidelity clickable prototype and code a basic functional app, in less than 24 hours, is in itself a huge feat.
What's next for shapesPorticode
This app can further be scaled to include events outside the UCL context. There can be a further segregation of events and interests to use the app for personal or professional networking. Using ML frameworks, the app can learn from your past connections and chosen interests to suggest you filtered events and potential connections. There is also enough scope to extend this app to include the AR/VR/XR modalities.
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