Team RibStack present Go Out!
Go Out! is a mobile app that gives its users the platform to find, attend, and organise a range of interesting activities within the local area. All activities are organised by fellow users, giving them the opportunity to connect with like-minded people, hopefully increasing the sense of community within its local user base.
We envision that a wide variety of potential users will find Go Out! helpful. For example, those who have recently relocated to a new town/city would be able to use it to search for activities which they are interested in, and meet new people. Also, following on from the worldwide pandemic where many of us have been stuck at home and are likely socially deprived(!) the app would be a great way for people to go out, enjoy fun activities, and connect with people!
Whilst there are a number of apps out there providing a similar service, after reviewing feedback from many of their users we believed that there was room for improvement on those iterations by focusing on the following:
- Having users being able to rate and review activities, so that other users can be confident as to what to expect.
- Having users being able to easily search for activities by distance., making it easy for users to organise their own activities.
The user begins their experience on the home page where they will see a list of category cards linking to upcoming activities. If the user is more concerned about activities in their local area, they can select the maps tab, which will show them pins of all activities near their radius. Once they select an activity, they will find further information, including a description, a map displaying the location of the activity, details of the organiser, and reviews/ratings. A user can then book the activity, whereby they will be sent to the Profile screen, which will display the activity. If the user no longer wishes to attend, they can cancel the booking.
On the Profile Screen, users will be able to create their own activity, which will then be displayed on the activities list for others to join. Users can also rate and review past activities which they have attended. We thought of the idea after discussing how challenging it could be for people moving to a new location and also how some of us were struggling to find activities to attend in person following the lockdown. We didn’t enjoy the experience of using other apps because it was difficult to use, and because there were very few activities nearby.
The aim of Go Out is to allow users to look for activities whilst on the go, so we decided to make it a mobile application. React Native was the natural choice for the front-end, as it allows us to create apps for both android and iOS devices, and had a solid development community around it, rich with additional libraries such as react-native-maps, and react-navigation. Having used React.js previously, we had a decent understanding of the framework, and concepts including components, states, and hooks, making the transition to React Native smooth. Expo was a great complement to React Native, as its library offered additional features which could be added with ease, including the image picker, and design elements. For the Maps feature we utilised the Google Maps API to display the user and location of activities. We also used the Google Places API in setting the location for the organise activity form. For design and planning, we created a basic wireframe with Excalibur, before moving onto Figma to flesh out the user interface.
Go Out aims to provide real-time updates to its users. As such, Firebase was our top choice for the back-end, as its firestore platform offered a flexible, scalable, NoSQL cloud database to store and sync data. Furthermore, Firebase contains many additional features, making it attractive for planned future development and scaling of the app, such as its authentication service, and in-app-messaging function. We integrated Firebase with the front end using package manager React Native Firebase. This enabled us to connect the app with the firestore database, the cloud storage for adding user photos, and the firebase analytics platform to check how the app was interacting with the back-end. As Firebase handled much of the back-end functionality, we were able to add features holistically, coding the front end functionality with the back-end api call simultaneously.
What are your plans for Go Out! going forward?
For future development, we are considering adding the following features:
- Using the phones location to bring up activities in realtime
- Using authentication with a user log in.
- Adding a payment options for activities
- A live chat feature for contacting an organiser
- A notification feature so that users are alerted when an activity is due to start
- Having a verified user feature -A moderator feature for user safety so that a user can add a complaint if required.