COVID-19 has increased rates of social isolation which is associated with various physical and mental repercussions. Social isolation describes a lack of a sense of belonging. Sadly, the LGBTQ+ community is more vulnerable because of the stigma, discrimination, and barriers to healthcare. We decided to address this issue by leveraging social media to strengthen human connections as we strive for a more inclusive and equitable society and believe that we can create one that is focused on the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community.
What it does
Our app enables users to connect with one another in real-time and get to know one another. One unique feature that separates our app from the rest is that we leverage a mechanism known as "speed matching" where each conversation only lasts for a brief 2 minutes meaning that people can get to network with a ton of people in a short amount of time and follow up with the ones that they bonded with.
How we built it
We built the web interface using the React framework utilizing libraries like socket.io to allow users in a room to communicate with one another using our chat functionally and webRTC enabling them to have a more visual and interactive experience. In addition, we built the wireframes using tools like Figma and Canva which were utilized to plan out and visualize the product.
Challenges we ran into
Enabling the 2-minute mechanism and then allowing the user to switch rooms. Our web app, allowed the video stream to be hosted forever as there was no exit functionality.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We made a proposal and we finished our hack! Got to learn a lot from this wonderful opportunity both in the technical space as well as from a design perspective.
What we learned
We learned more about utilizing web sockets which is a much more efficient way to develop the chat function as it's a direct P2P communication session with the user (client) and the server enabling messages to be sent and rendered efficiently without having to request the server for a reply.
Utilizing tools like WebRTC also made it easier for users to stream video/audio with one another without requiring many configurations and any middle man as everything is handled locally.
I learned that designing things take care. Every frame tells a story and I learned to be patient with myself when learning new software such as Figma. My toolset will grow as I challenge myself to try new things.
What's next for SpeedChat
Next for us here at SpeedChat is to scale out to other demographics as well that deserve a platform to strengthen relationships as Covid-19 has taken a massive toll on our mental health establishing a sense of social anxiety when forming relationships with new people, which we here at SpeedChat hope to solve.