Most of us are students who have seen our physical courses cancelled and replaced by online courses as a result of COVID-19. Despite the efforts of some professors and colleges to make the courses dynamic, we felt a great laziness invading us. Thus, as the days went by, the work was piling up.
On the occasion of the LauzHack against COVID-19, we decided to make an app to allow the confined people to organize and motivate themselves during this rough period.
The current features of the app
Before starting…general terms and conditions of use
As the legal aspect should not be forgotten, the person will have to accept the general conditions of use since the first opening of the app. They can also access to them at any time from the "profile" tab at the top right of the app.
By answering a few questions for the first time, a tailor-made programme will be organised by the app’s algorithm. The first questions concern the amount of work to be organized. The app will take into consideration the person's possible fixed schedule, so that the other activities can be scheduled. The app will organize the work plan by systematically including 15 minutes of breaks every 2 hours of work. In addition, the user will be able to choose his or her day(s) off, in order to maintain a suitable rhythm. The user will also be asked to set his mealtimes to follow a regular, thus healthy lifestyle. This healthy lifestyle will also be ensured by, on the one hand, the respect of an 8-hour sleep schedule, and on the other hand, with an adapted sports routine. Regarding the latter, the user will be able to choose 3 levels: light, moderate and intensive. It is important to note that the light and moderate levels are based on the WHO recommendations. Finally, the user will have the remaining free time for leisure, cleaning, etc...
The user will receive notifications at the beginning of each new activity in order to stick to it. The user can decide to start the activity directly, postpone it for 15 minutes (which will automatically readjust his schedule) or simply cancel the activity.
The difficulties during the adventure
Obviously, the time factor was a crucial aspect in this journey. We encountered some technical difficulties that prevented us from going ahead at the sustained pace required by the competition. This obstructed our conception of the app and asked us to review our priorities for this project. In the end, it was (and is) important to us to have a good working base that allows us to keep exploring the doors we left open.
Positive points and areas for improvement in our app
Our project is born, and it is growing. It has several solid foundations that can be complemented in the future with new functionalities. We underline, in particular, the following positive points: • The algorithm that organizes the schedules. • The design of a healthy program, which provides a regular rhythm of meals, 8 hours of sleep, 15-minutes breaks for effective work and the inclusion of sport in a work routine. • A thoughtful design (even though it can still be improved). • Internal storage within the app and offline use, so that the user does not need to be connected to an internet network all the time. • Regulation of the basic legal aspects of the app. • An email address to contact the team to any remarks regarding the app. This address (firstname.lastname@example.org) can be found in the general terms and conditions of use. • A very cute own made logo (which is an undeniable plus). Furthermore, the project can still be used even after the COVID-19 situation is over. Indeed, people will be able to rely on the app to organise their daily lives.
Areas for improvement
We can always improve! Nevertheless, we would have liked to add some animations to make the app more dynamic. Furthermore, the algorithm should be perfectioned in order to ensure that the 15 minutes breaks each 2 hours always works (currently not all the cases take those 15 minutes into consideration). In addition, the postponement and the automatic readjustment of the schedule should be implemented. The calculations of the work time should also be improved in order to be more precise.
Finally, it would be desirable to be able to customize even more the schedules by having the possibility to specify which kind of activity is made within the different tasks.
Obviously, 72 hours is far too short to design and adopt all the features imagined. Nevertheless, a big positive and motivating point would be to organize a reward system and a competition. In addition, it would be also suitable to include some statistics about the respect of the user’s planning. Even though we have not been able to program it, due to the lack of time, we can present you the project’s draft.
Statistics and reward system
As a reminder, with the notifications system, the user can postpone or cancel an activity that he or she no longer wishes to do at the moment. The idea would have been to introduce a system where the person can see how many activities, he or she confirms, postpones for 15 minutes, or cancels. In order to motivate the use of the app, aleatory points will be given to the users as they use the app and/or “confirm” to do their different activities. With the accumulated points, the users would be able to acquire achievements. Therefore, the user will proudly see, along with statistics, a nice prize table.
The necessary step for this would have been the implementation of an online use of the app. From an online account, there would be a ranking of the most motivated people (according to the statistics and prizes) and the users could compete with their "friends".
In a matter of simplification, the app is initially proposed for "adult" lifestyles. However, we aim to reach children as well by installing parental controls in the future.
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