The reason why we started the project
Have you already thought about what is causing you the biggest issue in times of isolation? Do you also find social distancing difficult these days?
During the last week of March 2020, the Hack the Crisis Hackathon movement appeared in our internal channels at Vacuumlabs and started a conversation about whether we could contribute to the event in any way.
Insight and motivation
The purpose of our first conference call was to find an idea that provides an added value in the current epidemic situation, something we can all be enthusiastic about. Among the listed possibilities we saw an eye-catching description explaining the negative effects of physical distancing. An interesting study claimed, that
‘Being socially isolated is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.’
–American Psychological Association
When we started to talk about this statement, more and more personal stories came up about depression, isolated family members and friends, and changing good daily routines, such as leaving healthy eating habits behind due to the pandemic. At that very moment, I think all of us felt like this was the right path to take.
The idea – Bear with Life
The core idea was about creating an application, where you can invite the people of your tribe. This social platform provides you a list of challenges to take and if you accept them, you will have them under ‘My challenges’ to complete. Once the required act is completed, you can upload a photo as a proof and hit ‘Challenge completed’. After completion, the app is asking about your mood and also offers a field to record how you felt. Writing down your thoughts or ‘journaling’ helps you to better understand your mental state and gain control over your emotions.
Some examples of the challenges we created:
Create a Spotify playlist 🎧
- Change can be stressful no matter what causes it. Music has the power to help overcome the discomfort. Make a positive playlist and share it with others, encouraging them to keep going.
Don’t check coronavirus news 🦠
- Give yourself a break, and don’t check the news until you go to sleep. Don’t look at the statistics, new treatments, or predictions today to remember how the world looked like before.
Connect with an old friend 📱
- When was the last time you spoke to your best friend from high school? Message them, and set up a call to find out how much has changed in their life in the meantime.
Do a 15-minute workout at home 💪
- It is not the same when you are at home and not in the gym. However, there are plenty of exercises you can do right here, right now – do some pushups, try a plank challenge, or find a guided video on Youtube.
Do you have some favorites already? Let us know about your suggestions!
Our team originally consisted of people who work with PR, marketing and business development, a UI/UX specialist with skills in project management, frontend developers, backend developers and after our first meeting, we also invited an external psychologist to join us.
In addition, most of the team members work at the same company, but not in the same place. This is the reason why we had no issues with remote teamwork, we are already used to communicating over Zoom, GoogleHangouts or Slack. We dedicated a weekend to the project, each one of us contributed to the final result as much as they could. In total, we had less than 50 hours to put something on the table.
One of the first steps was creating our brand guide. We agreed on our name ‘Bear with Life’, we picked out the fonts to use and also decided on the colors of our application. Besides, we had a clear idea of the logo, we wanted something bear-related with a heart shape, possibly referring to the social distance we have to keep these days.
For design creations, we started with Whimsical where we drafted our flows. The tool did not allow us to use any colors or fancy icons which helped us stay focused on the processes and functions, and not get distracted by visuals. Following final application designs were created with Adobe XD.
Key technologies we used
Our tech stack includes the followings:
- React Native via Expo,
- Hasura using GraphQL as a backend and database solution.
By the end of the weekend we were able to present a short video of our application:
Easy Landing Page Setup
Our first landing page was created on the platform Strikingly. This website editor allows you to put something together very quickly by using a customizable template. We included content about the planned application and a description of our mission.
We are planning to shift the website to Elementor, a WordPress Plugin.
The final presentation
We put together the final presentation in Google Slides. Csongor Biás did a presentation in Hungarian using the recording function of Zoom, we sent the video to the Hungarian jury. Moreover, Pavol Gurican did a live stream pitch presentation on the Slovakian side, and our social project won second place:
Here you can check out the live finals.
The Future what we plan for the application
Without a doubt, the Hackathon event was a great opportunity for our small team to check out how much we can do in a short time under pressure. Each one of us was exhausted by the end of the weekend but we also knew that this was just the beginning. We are planning on launching a BETA product and conducting user research by applying the ‘dogfooding’ technique. We would like to test the application within the company as we are sure we will receive valuable feedback from our colleagues and they will probably be our first messengers within their tribes if they will be satisfied with the social app.
It is also one of our plans to add more gamification to the platform. We want to achieve the best possible engagement among users, hoping that we can provide a digital environment that serves a good purpose in every joining community. The goal would not be to win over each other but to help these teams in improving the health of their own environment, by challenging and supporting their tribe to bear with life.