Inspiration

Sometimes you make the best friends in the most unexpected ways. Universities typically hold many on-campus events providing the opportunity to interact with other students. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, those opportunities have mostly vanished. We created an app to be a shining beacon in dark times, to allow students to connect and have fun without the risk of contracting COVID-19.

Behind the Concept:

  • We made a pun: Universekitty, where it’s a universe for each university consisting of students representing cat planets
  • Fun fact: Day 1 of Hackathon, August 8th, 2020, was coincidentally International Cat Day.

What it does

Universekitties connects college students through random chats and themed forums.

  • The sign-up process involves user authentication with a university email address, which will reduce the risk of spams and other unwanted and anonymous interactions.
  • The user can select a topic for conversation or simply go random. If the user decides to choose a topic, they will see group chats to jump into. With the latter, users can bond with other active users by sharing funny cat memes and add them as a friend.
  • The web app would be mostly for finding new friends. Once users add new friends and decide to keep in touch with them, they can get the mobile app to:
    1. Journalize their friendship by posting memes, conversations, events they enjoyed together
    2. Create hangout events with specific friends
    3. Use in-app currency, kitty coins, to customize the app to their liking (i.e. hang out with as many friends as they would like, create various hangout events).

How we built it

  • Initial idea sketching in Procreate and Adobe XD
  • We built the web and mobile app in Figma

Challenges we ran into

  • Initially, we started building a mobile app in Flutter that conveniently supports both iOS and Android devices. However, based on each teammate’s experience and skills, we decided to collaborate through Figma.
  • We had a lot of ideas going on, but after discussing with a mentor, we narrowed the focus down to the social aspect of the app.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We’re proud to have a finished product with a simple-to-navigate design that is both cute and functional. The development of both web and mobile app helped us to solidify our idea of helping college students interact with one another during COVID-19. We are also happy to have included original logos and designs inspired by cats and space made by our team members on Procreate and Figma.

What I learned

  • In our first 9 hours of the hackathon, we learned the setup of Flutter in Android Studio and VS Code, learned to create the basic level of the mobile version of Universekitty. We were able to implement APIs such as Google Maps to track the user’s location and Firebase for user authentication.
  • After we decided to create the product in Figma, we extensively collaborated in Low-fidelity prototyping with Procreate and high-fidelity prototyping in Figma. The learning curve was quicker and all members were able to actively contribute to product development.
  • As such, collaboration and product/project management were key aspects of our team’s effort throughout the hackathon.

What's next for Universekitty

  • Build full application that utilizes meme and gif APIs
  • Expand to other audience groups such as high school students
  • Create a PRO version using in-app currency that can expand on certain applications and features, such as customization of user avatar and event types.

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