BuzzNow is a mobile application that aims to solve the groceries shopping problem for Georgia tech students who have busy schedules or mobile disability. The app has two major functions, i.e. requesting and offering shopping help. Correspondingly, it has two groups of users - buyers and shoppers. Buyers can create shopping lists, choose a nearby shop and set the expiration date for their shopping requests.Then our app can automatically match buyers' shopping requests with potential shoppers based on their geographical locations.
I am the team leader for this project and have taken the responsbilities ranging from team building to product design and development. Our team started with four girls with different backgrounds for AT&T hackathon, and we won the Best App from All Women Team award.
As first year international students, we were all facing the same problem for grocery shopping: time and transportation. Georgia tech is not only famous for its engineering schools but also for the heavy workload =). We all have a very tight study schedule. Also, we don't have a car, and the public transportation is too consuming and troublesome. So, can we ask those who are planning to go grocery shopping to help us? Therefore, the our target users are:
Before we diving into task analysis, we tried to validate the product idea by brainstorming from every aspect. Following are chanllenges and solutions we have thought about.
In order to attract more shoppers to offer their help, we proposed two incentive mechanism: tips and honey sticks. Buyers set the amount of tips when he/she submitting the order. At the end of the order, the buyer could send the shopper honey sticks as thanks. The more the honey sticks the person have, his/her shopping requests will be ranked at the top of shopping lists and could be seen by more people.
We adopt real name registration system. When users applying for an account on BuzzNow for the first time, we will request them to provide their real name and GT ID. We will apply for access of student information from the university in order to validate their registration information.
The two group of users have their own workflow seperately as following. Buyers, who are asking for help, create shopping list, set tip amount, and send it over to the community. Shoppers are those who would like to offer their help could pick up one of the requests. They can get tips and honey sticks at the end of each transaction.
Here is the design we created in 36 sleepless hours during the Hackathon. And we also used it for user testing in informal interviews.
How to efficiently store those data and their relationships are quite critial for our product. We were using the popular Web framework Django to implement REST API, and using Postgres as our databased to store user, product, and shopping list information. The application is still under development.
Since I did my undergraduate study with the major of Computer Science, I was always an "outlier". Girls are always minority in computing shcools. Later when working as a reserch assistant in National University of Singapore, there were also only 3 female researchers in our lab. After that, I was also the only female programmer in our development team while working in a startup company. Along the way, I was wondering why it is and what I can do to change such phenomenon. This turns to an idea: why not build up a team with all female programmers to show our interests and enthusiam in technology? We are also capable to create something cool!
Gender never matters to a great team, but skillset, mindset and characteristics are. Four of us are all from different background with different skillsets, however, we all have passion in user experience design, coding and technology. A great thanks to Georgia Tech and AT&T made one of my dream come true!