yoursTruly is inspired by the enormously stressful time period of college-application season. Most high school seniors have a hard time choosing a school because universities give out similar brochures and flyers in a rather depersonalized way. yoursTruly aims to give prospective college students a real experience of the school by connecting them to the atmosphere and environment of the university, facilitating communication between students of the present and future.
What It Does
yoursTruly is an iOS app that allows current college students to leave their voice messages at certain locations on campus, such as stories, memories, and opinions. Prospective students can then approach the locations and listen to the stories of the current students. Therefore, they can get a more personal and interactive perspective of what the university is like.
How We Built It
The iOS app is coded in Swift. We used the Google Maps API for location tracking, Estimote beacons for location-based audio storage and retrieval, and Parse for the database. We crowd-sourced location based audio files from real Northwestern students and stored them to different classes in our database, based on each location.
Challenges We Ran Into
This is our first time working with beacon, so we spent quite some time setting them up. The Estimote documentation and online examples were geared toward Objective-C more so than Swift, so another initial challenge was figuring out if the smartphones were detected within the beacon detection range.
Accomplishments That We're Proud Of
We are proud of how quickly we were able to learn everything within 24 hours, building an app that is fully functional and visually pleasing. Our team has diverse skill sets and was therefore able to complement each other and taking different roles in the team. Beyond making the backend functional, we put a lot of thought into UI design. We chose orange as our theme color because it carries the meaning of "Truth". Also, we chose an arrow (symbolizing going forward from high school into college) made out of a pause button and play button, since we have an audio app.
What We Learned
From the product side, we learned about the process of product design. We created a project timeline to split the main tasks, including front-end, back-end, and user interface, to keep track of product progress. From the technical side, we explored how to use the Google Maps API and integrating our app with the Beacon technology. We also collected user feedback, and modified our app accordingly.
What's Next for yoursTruly
We would explore more in depth on how beacon operates technically, and what else we do with beacons. For example, beacons are best used for indoor positioning, and how can we better utilize this feature to indoor college touring.
We will study more about motivation for current students to contribute to the database.