Being the intrepid students we are, we often see our fellow peers struggling to form efficient study groups. We wanted to make something that would benefit the student community. As high school progresses, classes start to vary more between friends, therefore, it is very hard to find people to study with. This app solves this problem in an efficient and appealing way.
What it does
Study Buddy enables you to create study groups with fellow classmates quick and easy. The user creates an account with all the classes they are taking. Then, whenever they need a study group, they simply click the class they need a study group for. The app takes all the current study sessions going on and provides a detailed profile of each study group. This profile helps the user by giving them an idea of what the group is currently studying and where they are meeting. It also shows how many people are currently studying in the group. The user simply goes to the physical location of the group is studying and then joins the group on the app. Alternatively, the user could create their own study group by filling out their own form. This newly created group is publicly available for anyone to join.
An additional feature we added is the tutor option when signing up. Basically, students who are proficient in certain subjects can sign up to be a tutor and then show up at study groups to help students out. As a reward, these students will get community service hours for their time. This is definitely something that will attract many users because most high schools require community service hours to graduate. This is a great way to fulfill those requirements. Our app will provide a different icon for tutors so that people who join study groups will know that they will have an expert to help them out.
_ Firebase Realtime Database _
Firebase Realtime Database allowed us to update information in real time and keep the Android App and iOS app synchronized. The impressive speeds it had to offer prompted us to use Firebase over other Databases. Additionally, Firebase is free and links with other Google Products, providing us with one integrated system.
_ Firebase Storage _
We used Firebase Storage to store graphics and other data that is inconvenient to store in a Database. Storage provides more functions to easily gather photo data.
_ Firebase Auth _
We used Firebase Auth to allow our app to have different users. This allows each user to have their own preferences such as username, password, and if they are a tutor or not. Auth gave us simple functions that made doing something intimidating like Authentication, simple to use and understand.
How we built it
Design The app was designed in Figma, a free app design software. It enabled us to quickly make simple layouts, and create buttons to switch between different parts of the app.
The icons and graphics for the app were designed using both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. The app’s logo was designed by us, and created in Adobe Illustrator.
To create the app on the android platform, we used Thunkable. We wanted our device to be cross-platform with iOS so we stored all our data on firebase, which provides a realtime database and backend as a service. Since it was the first time that some of us were using Thunkable and Firebase, a lot of the time was spent on understanding how it worked. We were able to create a rough draft of the app based on the design made on Figma. This app is fully functional, but requires some UI/UX polishing.
To create the iOS platform, we used Xcode10/Swift 4. We utilized Firebase to keep information common between the apps so no matter what platform your on, you are receiving the same experience. Firebase and other UI changes took lots of code but in the end we were able to create a good app on both iOS and Android.
Challenges we ran into
Both Tyler and Thomas learned how to use software they had never used before. As with any and all applications, there was a learning curve. Most of the difficulty had to do with navigation, and how to access different features of the application. After lots of practice, things became easier for us, and our apps gained much more functionality. We were also able to work more efficiently, with less time spent looking for help, and more time spent doing actual design/code work.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We feel that the quality of work we produced was amazing considering that this was our first time at a 24-hour and we spent a lot of time learning new applications.
Learning New Softwares
We wanted this hackathon to push us out of our comfort zone and look beyond the applications we were all used to using. We decided to experiment with Figma and Firebase for this project. Even though we started off slow and it was frustrating, we persevered through the challenges and were able to make something work.
Not only is the final product important, but also our synergy as a team. Throughout the hackathon we were always able to work collaboratively and voted on many of the decisions to make sure everyone is happy. When deciding roles, we wanted to create roles that would play on each others’ skills and interests at the same time as learning something new. Tyler is very passionate about design and through the help of the Thunkable engineers, they were able to recommend Figma to him. This is something he will forever use as it is such a powerful tool. Thomas and Rishab learned a lot about Firebase and app development. We used the help from the mentors roaming around and the Thunkable engineers to help us through our challenges. Though we might not have had as much experience as other teams, we utilized teamwork, and played with each others’ skills to make something effective and fun at the same time!
What we learned
We learned of many new software tools including Thunkable, Firebase, and Figma that we can take home and continue to get more familiar with.
From talking to the engineers from Thunkable, Tensorflow, and mentors, we realized how important asking questions is. If we hadn’t asked many of the questions we did, we would not have been able to create the app we did.
What's next for Study Buddy
We would like to spend more time testing Study Buddy with more users. In order to make sure our app will work on the large, school-wide level, we start small, and gradually increase the amount of users.