One of the team members has a 13-year-old brother, who's school was cancelled two weeks ago. Even in normal times, high schools find it difficult to provide comprehensive yet personalised advice for career aspirations at an early age.
We want to get young individuals more informed - and generally, more excited - about career development and discovery.
We believe that providing an interactive, gamified, experience will help kids become engaged and motivated during these uncertain times.
We hope that this tool can support families during this crisis and beyond, by supplementing traditional educational services with a unique solution for high-school-stage career development and discovery.
What it does.
Wayfinder enables high school students to quickly explore potential careers and vocations of interest - highlighting relevant skills associated with each career path. This information is accompanied by recommended online extra-curricular activities that can be pursued remotely to help achieve these skills. All information is presented as engaging and interactive content in a video-game-like format, to help keep high school students excited and motivated!
Wayfinder starts with an eight-question interactive quiz. High school students can fill out this quiz on the Wayfinder mobile app. After completion of the quiz, the top related attributes and recommended career paths are displayed, dependent on the student's answers during the quiz. This then starts the career discovery and development stages; whereby the student can access interactive content related to particular occupations. The curated content includes 'day in the life' style videos as well as recommended academic courses - traditional and extra-curricular - that can help the student achieve the necessary skills required to be best suited to explore and understand any potential career of interest.
How we built it.
We built Wayfinder using react-native. All three team members are located in different cities within the UK; Manchester, London and Edinburgh. We communicated daily via Skype, undertaking key point stand-ups each evening after we had finished our day jobs.
Wayfinder will be released as a mobile app on iPhone as well as Android.
Challenges we ran into.
From a technical perspective, we found it moderately challenging to hit the ground running - to efficiently set up our environments and create a robust mobile application within the given timeframe. All three team members are proud to say that we tackled this challenge head-on and believe we have come out of this Hackathon stronger and more competent.
Additionally, we faced a design thinking challenge. In other words, we were forced to empathise with our target users in order to ensure we built not only a useful app but one that high schoolers would actually want to use and engage with. Fortunately, we were trapped in isolation with several high-school-aged siblings! This gave us adequate time to iterate quickly whilst taking into account their honest feedback while they used Wayfinder.
Accomplishments that we're proud of.
How quickly each team member managed to learn react-native; none of us had any prior experience with this particular stack!
All three team members are very close and are used to working together on a daily basis face-to-face. The nature of our interactions changed due to this crisis; we are surprised how easily we managed to keep motivated and organised remotely whilst working from home.
What we learned.
We primarily built Wayfinder to unlock value for our siblings during this time of crisis. We iterated our product based on their feedback.
We were surprised to learn just how much they desired easy-to-digest relevant content related to their futures. We were initially under the assumption that our siblings would much rather use this time off school to simply enjoy playing their video game console! However, we were happy to realise that if the information was presented in an intuitive and personalised way, our siblings would spend the time to properly engage with the material.
We initially thought the best way to solve this problem was to incorporate some form of chat-room tool to help high schoolers through peer support and engagement - yet we now realise that this often exacerbates insecurity and uncertainty that usually surrounds career aspiration. We came to understand that if a tool such as Wayfinder empowers high schoolers to independently explore career options, they will be more inclined to do so!
What's next for Wayfinder.
Wayfinder will be released as a mobile app on iPhone as well as Android. We have started the application launch process and hope to be on the App Store & Google Play Store by mid-April.
We plan to spread the word of Wayfinder by utilising our immediate network of relevant target users (Alex has two siblings of relevant high school age and Modest has five younger siblings). We believe we can reach our first potential users using this immediate network.
After this, we plan to continue to iterate rapidly (we have incorporated a community idea forum page to help direct future development) by adding more curated content and further interactive features.