As car owners, many of us develop a bond with our vehicle, as we go on journeys and create memories with it. DriveFord was created as a way to track these experiences and share them with those we care about, while establishing a connection with the larger community of Ford owners.
What it does
Our app allows users to see simple information regarding their car like where it's located and diagnostics information along with a feature that allows vehicle owners to connect to their vehicle on a more personal level while sharing this journey with their vehicle with the outside world. This feature has two main parts. Initially the users are granted badges for different accomplishments they complete with their cars. For example, driving their first 100 miles or traveling to Dearborn, MI, the birthplace of Ford. Once the users earn these accomplishments in the forms of badges, they can click on each individual badge and share this badge on social media. This will allow them to easily share their greatest personal achievements with their vehicles, with their closest friends and family! When posting, we include a short message that encourages them to tag Ford with our hashtags attached and share their journey with Ford as well. Our app will link directly to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or other sharing platforms, allowing them to use their existing social media to directly make posts!
How we built it
We primarily built this application using React Native. First, we built a simple "hello world" app that could connect to the API and display a success message to ensure that we were properly understanding how to access the API. Upon our initial success with the API, we pivoted to implementing the features mentioned above. We approached this problem in a two-step manner. First, build the backend to retrieve all necessary information from the Ford API and store it in the right location during application run time. Once we succeeded in building an efficient back end to retrieve all of our information, we implemented a proper user interface to show this information to the user in the best way possible. This included branching out and exploring other API's, like the Google Maps API, to give the user a cleaner, more compact user interface.
Challenges we ran into
Accomplishments that we're proud of
What we learned
In the process of building this app we learned how to make an app using React Native and how to use services like Postman to our advantage while attempting to make a connection to API through our app. We learned the basic building blocks of React Native through extensive online research and trial and error while building the app. Once we were able to use Postman, we also learned what the authentication process looks like and why an access token and refresh token are necessary when using API's. Furthermore, we learned how to arrange UI elements without interfering with each other while creating a smooth experience. In addition to the technical skills we acquired, we learned a lot about project management and feature prioritization while building the app. While developing this app, at every step, we were able to make quick decisions regarding how to best implement an upcoming feature and if it contributes well to our overall vision of the app. This included either removing features due to unnecessary complexity, or modifying features along the way to better fit overall vision while keeping in mind our time restraints.
What's next for DriveFord
Since we strongly believe in the vision of socializing aspects of owning a Ford vehicle, we plan on adding features and refining existing features that contribute to this vision. For example, we would like to add pop up notifications from the app that notify you immediately when accomplishing a new achievement. Primarily though, we want to add functionality where users are able to have a personal section for their achievements and a friend's section to see their achievements. The friend's section would allow users to see any accomplishments that their friends have had with their Ford vehicles while keeping track of all the achievements the user has made with their own vehicle. Lastly, although our app was mainly geared towards socializing owning a vehicle, we still believe it's important to deliver vital information regarding the car such as diagnostics and location. Since we have this implemented, we plan on further refining the user experience to make it cleaner and easier to use.