Demo is in the google drive link below!
Many mental health and isolation issues have been perpetuated by the pandemic. Feelings of loneliness and isolation during the pandemic are very common and despite our differences in time zones and borders, the entire team felt that the pandemic had impacted their mental health. Anxiety and mental illnesses perpetuated by COVID are felt worldwide, and support systems are very scarce.
When discussing how to address these issues which impact all of us, one of our teammates voiced an experience they had with the IBO Discord Server. There is a channel dedicated to ranting where people type out their anger anonymously. You see people from the other side of the world facing similar experiences or with other problems that make you feel less lonely. Sometimes, people would share a joke or inspirational anecdote and you would feel better.
Letting out your anger and feeling heard is a wonderful coping mechanism. We wanted to create a simple website where anyone could contribute and feel anonymous but appreciated and heard.
What it does
To answer the theme “bridging the gap,” some of the questions we asked ourselves were- how can we connect with others who are in similar situations? Moreover, how can we safely connect with others, highlighting our experiences rather than border or racial differences?
Support Wall offers categories where you can add sticky notes anonymously. These categories include Ranting, Jokes, Family, School and good news, where you can add sticky notes under a word limit. We wanted to highlight safety and connection because we want people to be able to connect without avatars or names. This still allows them to feel connected and does not expose personal and identifying information without their consent. Most people surveyed enjoyed the anonymity, citing it as essential in creating a safe and fulfilling experience. An overarching motivation from users is enjoying the ranting and safety aspect of the website, where users feel like they are connecting as a community online.
How we built it
After brainstorming, a preliminary prototype in Figma was created. With the logo, font, and the design all done, Django and Bootstrap were used to create the website. Premiere pro was used to edit the video and Photoshop was used to create mockups.
Challenges we ran into
We restarted the project 12 hours in due to a lot of confusion and some of us had bad internet connection, resulting in loss of some code. Due to the time zone differences, we weren’t able to work together at the same time or film the video clearly for everyone but all of the team efficiently made distinct contributions to progress the project and the pitch.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
All of the team are beginner programmers who haven’t entered many hackathons. This was our first time collaborating with code and we had a lot of trouble coordinating with our various time zones. We are proud of what we have accomplished together, especially because teamwork and collaboration is not easy. Our communication was skewed due to time differences, but we still made it work.
What we learned
We ran into a problem with the code and had to learn a lot on the spot. In addition, we had a lot of ideas but had to evaluate on a time cost basis and ended up not being able to include many of them. We are proud of the ideas we came up with, and how we integrated them into our project. We are proud of constantly working on our code, even when it got very tough.
We also learned how to do some competitor evaluations. We are high school students and had to research this on our own. We used a competitor analysis chart to evaluate Kind Words, Reddit, and Support Wall in terms of features. Next, we used the LEMERS method. We noticed all apps are fairly easy to use. Some features of the apps may be unclear or unknown to users but they have common interfaces. Reddit and King Words primarily use icons while Support Wall relies on the homepage and simple interface to guide the user. All apps do not allow much freedom in errors. Reddit allows post editing but even after a post is deleted, it can still be found online and seen. Kind Words and Support Wall do not allow post editing and after something is sent, it cannot be deleted.
What's next for Support Wall
Our future edits include adding a search bar and several filters that allow customization of the number of sticky notes per row.
Another feature we wanted to include but couldn’t implement is randomizing sticky notes based on words-- a user would enter one keyword and a random sticky note with that word or a similar theme would show up. This takes the experience even further and creates a personal dialogue.
To keep the environment safe for all, we want to prevent spam with a captcha and add a mental health chat bot while also automatically filtering out profane and triggering posts. We hope to see you send us a joke on Support Wall.