We wanted to gamify the note taking experience to make it more interactive and helpful for students. There is an application called TopHat that lets professors post questions during class, and students answer the questions as a part of their participation grade. One of our teammates was very dissatisfied with TopHat because it forces the user to pay a semester or yearly subscription while not providing any educational benefits. As a result, we wanted to create a new platform that could incorporate both students and professors, but more importantly, it would be catered to actually helping the users academically.
What it does
upNoted is a note sharing platform for students taking the same course. Each student pays an initial $15 deposit to register. Students upload their own notes from lecture. Each student has the option to upvote other students’ notes. At the end of the course, users with most upvoted notes receive portioned rewards of the total initial deposits. In an effort to keep students from bullying others in real life over the performance of their notes, students are kept anonymous with low-poly animal avatars.
How we built it
We started with a seed Ionic app and fleshed it out iteratively. First we enabled a Firebase web authentication so that students can log into the service with their social media account. Then we worked on creating the actual functionality of the app. Then we worked on getting the actual functionality of the app up. We managed to create users, then we implemented the functionality to allow them to upload notes. Next, we worked on the voting functionality which we chose to keep anonymous and prevented downvoting, so that people could not target a particular user and would only vote based on the merit of the notes.
Challenges we ran into
We ran into some issues while getting the social login setup. We had cookies disabled and that was creating errors. After we figured that out, we had to setup a completely new firebase schema tailored to our app and then figure how to push to it. After that, we figured out how to pull from firebase and manipulated the data. We ran into some issues because of the way information is retrieved from firebase.
Figuring out which style fits for which animals, redoing the same animal multiple times when the theme didn't quite fit, figuring out how exactly the logo should look (color, style, font, etc).
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We managed to integrate firebase with an ionic app. It our my first time working with both platforms. The Ionic app is very angular js heavy. That is another framework that we got to know pretty well, as we wrote our own controllers, factories and directories to add custom functionality.
The avatars are something to take pride in. Each was completely created by hand. Low-poly graphic design is a simple yet extremely effective technique. This goal for simplistic efficiency resonated as an inspiration throughout our entire program. We are very happy with how they turned out.
Along the lines of finesse, our logo also took a long time with a lot of ideas bouncing back and forth. From deciding the exact color scheme, to style, to the font, to the slogan, the process took a lot of collaboration, and is better than what any of us individually could come up with.
In addition to this, the logo we created is very intuitive in its design and communicates clearly the intention of the app. The colors constituting the logo, gray and red, convey a general perception of intellect. The arrow-ed "N" in upNoted not only serves as a reminder that we reward general improvement, but it also became our own icon for upvoting notes.
What we learned
We learned what Firebase and Ionic are. How to integrate them and work with and do social logins.
We learned about color theory, how different pairs and hues and shades of colors convey different types of moods, and how we needed to find the right pair to convey the right mood for my product. Along with that, we also learned how different styles of low-poly graphic design should cater to the object that I am designing, whether it be more geometrical or abstract.
What's next for upNoted
Multiple classes, optional professor moderation, being able to ask questions on notes.