Inspiration

The inspiration comes from Politik - this is a version 2.0 with significant improvements! We're passionate about politics and making sure that others can participate and more directly communicate with their politicians.

What it does

We show you the bills your House representative has introduced, and allow you to vote on them. We've created token based auth for sign-up and login, built a backend that allows us to reformat and modify 'bill' and 'representative' objects, and done a complete redesign of the frontend to be much simpler and more user friendly. We have polished the fax route (that can fax a message embedded in a formal letter directly to your representative!) and have begun implementation of Expo push notifications!

How we built it

We used React Native on the frontend, Node.js / Express.js on the backend, and MongoDB hosted by mLab. We created the backend almost completely from scratch and had no DB before this (just fake data pulled from a very rate limited API). We used Sketch to help us think through the redesign of the application.

Challenges we ran into

1) Dealing with the nuances of MongoDB as we were handling an abnormally large amount of data and navigating through a bunch of promises before writing a final modified object into our Mongo collection. The mentors at the mLab booth were really helpful, giving us more creative ways to map relationships between our data.

2) Designing an intuitive, easily navigable user interface. None of us have formal design training but we realize that in politics more than anything else, the UX cannot be confusing - complicated legislation must be organized and displayed in a way that lends itself to greater understanding.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of the amount of functionality we were able to successfully implement in such a short period of time. The sheer amount of code we wrote was quite a bit, and considering the complexity of designing a database schema and authentication system, we're proud that we were able to even finish!

What we learned

There is no such thing as 'too much' caffeine.

What's next for Speak Up

Ali plans to continue this and combine it with Politik. Now that authentication and messaging your representative works - I just need to refactor the code and fully test it before releasing on the app store.

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