Inspiration

During this season of COVID-19, it can be difficult to stay positive, especially with increased exposure to social media. We wanted a simple way to inspire happiness and positivity, not only in others but also in ourselves. Uplift is a simple and direct way to encourage and support yourself and your friends.

What it does

Uplift's core feature is snippet-sending, which is essentially sending short messages to yourself and other people. These messages get saved in your message bank, where you can see all past messages you sent yourself and messages other people sent you. As an Uplifter, make an account to start sending and receiving encouragement to you and a randomly chosen friend. Check out a randomly chosen message for inspiration!

How we built it

We used React.js for the frontend, which communicates with an Express.js backend. This is all brought together with Firebase (database, authentication). Uplift is currently hosted on Heroku.

Challenges we ran into

It was rather challenging to keep the app as minimalistic as possible. We wanted to add all these cool features (points system, avatars, rewards, streaks, etc), but we needed to narrow down our feature set to highlight the actual messages our users send. All the other peripheral features, we decided, would only distract from the core mission

In addition, finding a seamless way to integrate the two-piece web-app with the database, then host the app, was tricky. Deployment took more hours than expected, but it was done successfully in the end.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We pride ourselves on our minimalistic design, streamlined user experience, and responsive layout. A lot of thought was put into the design of the homepage, specifically on how to best highlight the purpose of Uplift. A clear call to action was paramount in this design.

What we learned

Some of our team used to React for the first time! They are happy to report that they love it and will be using it in the future.

Also, as a team, we now know to allocate more manhours to integration and deployment. The deployment process required a surprising amount of code edits, especially in our attempt to deploy to Google Cloud. Planning contingency time into our schedule is crucial.

What's next for Uplift

Our next steps will be to integrate a strong incentive to send messages. With more personalized and genuine messages, the Uplift support network grows stronger and benefits all of its users. We also hope to increase the number of users, so that each user has a more complete Uplift network, and thus a stronger support group.

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