Inspiration

For some UCI students, meeting new people or finding people to date with similar interests can be a challenge. We wanted to change that, thus came the idea of Zot Meet: an easier way for students to meet and talk to other students with similar interests (that they otherwise would never meet). Compared to other social apps, such as Tinder, Zot Meet is exclusively focused on UCI students only to help foster the UCI community and bring them closer together. We believe this app would be a huge help to commuters, shy people, socially-awkward people, and to UCI as a whole.

What it does

Essentially, Zot Meet is a way for UCI students to meets others with similar interests and gain a better sense of the UCI community. Users enter their preferences, such as year, major, housing, interests, political stance, and which of these they put the most value on (on a scale of 1-10). Our algorithm filters out a match from the database of users, utilizing the value "weights," to find the ideal person. For example, if you care the most about the potential match's political stance, you would list that as a 10, and the algorithm would put the most weight on that when making the decision.

How we built it

For the creation of Zot Meet, we split ourselves into two teams: Claude and Kyle on the front-end, Ellie and Zoya on the back-end. The front-end was created using HTML, CSS, and plain JavaScript. The back end was created with Python, with MongoDB for the database.

Challenges we ran into

The main challenge we ran into was dealing with flask and mongodb. In the beginning, it took a while to figure out how these worked and how they were intertwined. A lot of the concepts were still fairly abstract to us, so we spent a long time testing things out, talking to mentors, and researching these concepts in-depth. We eventually figured out how the frontend and backend interact through the database. In relation to our program, we found it difficult to utilize the algorithm alongside getting the data from the frontend. Another challenge was related to technical difficulties with github, where Claude's computer had his new files replaced by his old ones when he tried to commit. It was a set back towards the end of the competition, but with diligent efforts, we worked quickly under the pressure and managed figure it out on time.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

It was incredibly refreshing to have a day just to code; we started out having very little knowledge of all the concepts we covered, but by the end, a lot of things started to click. Throughout our daily lives, it's difficult to find the time to code projects we are passionate about. It was exhilarating to work together to put together of all the puzzle pieces of information that we were in the process of learning about, and once we were able to figure something out or run a successful test case, it felt good to know we were on the right track.

What we learned

One thing we learned was to set realistic expectations about our end goal. We originally underestimated the time it would take to complete our project, and ended up being constrained by the time. Nevertheless, we still learned new technical concepts such as how to use flask, API, mongodb, json, and how to connect the frontend with the backend through all of its challenges. We learned to collaborate and work efficiently under a small amount of time, as well as the significance of hacking in general. Hacking taught us to have perseverance and continue to push through despite the challenges we ran into, and to stay true to the meaning and importance of our project and what we want to bring to our community with our code in the first place.

What's next for Zot Meet

To develop this website further, we will implement a few more features. We would want to allow users to match with more than one person. Users would be to add a feature where you can connect to either Google Calendar or AntAlmanac and find times where both you and your match are free to meet up. In order to fully restrict our users to primarily UCI students and avoid issues such as catfishing, we would want to allow users to log in with their UCI net ID.

We hope to continue coding this project until we come out with a final product for students across campus to spark new friendships, make ideal matches, and stay connected.

Repo Website link

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