Inspiration

In the age of information overload, we believe that individuals who want to stay informed need a better way to access quality information about relevant social issues because it’s difficult to know where to find trustworthy, easy-to-read, science-based information that efficiently provides you with a comprehensive understanding of the issue.

User Interview Results

What it does

Sociobox captures the best resources and packages them together in order to deliver an educational experience that’s both enlightening and enjoyable. It includes a variety of mediums for all learners: videos, audiobooks, articles, virtual events, etc. as well as ideas for action steps that users can take to further the cause, and a community platform so they can discuss their thoughts with other users.

Each month, the focus of the box changes. One month it may be focused on genetic engineering, sustainable consumerism the next, and human trafficking after that. This nudges users out of their comfort zone as they're motivated to expand their horizons by diving deep into an issue that they may not otherwise become very familiar with. To make learning more effective, users are encouraged to participate in conversations with each other. Looking at the same resources gives them a shared language so it's easier to talk about complicated problems.

Features

  • Sign up with a name, email, and password
  • Login with email and password
  • View the social issue of the month on the home page
  • Access a curated list of resources related to the topic (video/podcast/articles)
  • Play a video
  • Read article
  • Listen to podcast
  • Save pages to revisit them
  • Join the community forum

How we built it

  • Low fidelity wireframe using balsamiq

  • High fidelity wireframe using Figma

  • Front-end development using React, Redux

  • Back-end development using Node.js, Express.js and mongodb

  • Chatbot using Dialogflow and Google cloud

Challenges we ran into

We ran into some git problems and merge conflicts, but we were able to resolve them with effective communication and stack overflow. We had a hard time finding reliable sources of information, APIs such as BBC API are available to staff only. Other APIs have a limit of free API calls. Due to time constraints, we weren't able to make use of all api endpoints created on the backend. 5 minutes before the deadline and after deployment, we found out that one of the APIs only works on localhost (developer plan).

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We have completed the whole UI design for the app (including stretch goals), a fully functional chatbot and completed the front-end and back-end development of the app (main features). Our app can be accessed HERE

What we learned

We learned how to use Figma for UI design, react for front-end development and using the new beta feature of Dialogflow for chatbot. We learned to use Redux for state management and create associations/references between forum, discussion, and message database models on the backend and add/delete/update tables in MongoDB.

What's next for Sociobox

New features

Customizable feed

Users can choose the update frequency (daily/weekly/monthly), prioritize issues (local/national/global issues), select the media that appears (article/podcast/video), and the length of the video/podcast.

Friends & private chat

User can add other users as friends and chat in private

Fundraising

Add an option to allow users to donate to a particular cause/organization involved in a particular social issue - or - provide enough value that users feel comfortable paying a monthly subscription fee that will be donated to the issue of the month.

Rewards Program

Keep users engaged by rewarding them for completing the list of resources each month and being active in the community.

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