All posts by Jonne R Huotari

YouChat

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What?

Somejam, a coding event where the task is to create an app that benefits youth in someway. In 48 hours our team was able to create a communication tool that would allow a young person to have a private chat with a youth worker or other person capable of helping. Our teams was quite large and consisted of (from left to right):

  • Programmer, designer, innovator – Henri Malkki
  • Programmer, solution architect Felix Lindholm
  • Programmer, designer – Jonne Huotari
  • Designer, programmer – Perttu Lähteenlahti
  • Programmer, designer – Zita Němečková
  • Programmer, designer – Yan He
  • Youth worker – Maija Pihlaja
  • Youth worker – Liisa Kurtti

Concept

Liisa told us about her goal to make important information for young people more easy to access because they usually get it from wrong or outdated sources like friends or family.At Friday night we talked about some kind of Emergency button that would let you call a youth worker at anytime you wanted. On Saturday we expanded it to chat platform that would be 24/7 available, easy to use and let you talk one on one with someone who have correct and up-to-date information that young person needs. We wanted to create trustworthy chat environment so we decided that someone who is there to give advice should provide their name, photo and some additional information about themselves. This way young people can know who they are talking to and they can trust them. There are many chats but none is open for long or provide any information about people you can talk to.

oulu-3Our goal was to create some basic prototype that Liisa could show to her employer so they can use to improve the chat in Netnappi in Oulu that they want to renew in near future.

Technical stuff

Fact was that some software company would make the app from scratch when it would be launched, so we focused on making working demo instead of a complete product. We used nodejs and socket.io to create the software, because they were fast to implement and easy to use. This helped us to focus on the usability and design.

Final solution architecture

JavaScript
HTML5, CSS3
Bootstrap
font-awesome
node.js
socket.io
Iframe-technology

Development tools

Sublime text
Vim
Pen and paper

We think that nodejs and socket.io were quite easy to get started with, but deep understanding can take some time of course. All other technologies were useful and we can recommend those too. We can also truly recommend using Sublime text and Vim for all the editing needs. We used Slack for communication and sharing links. To put shortly, Slack is IRC with GUI and file sharing. It was great because not everyone uses IRC.

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Conclusion

The final product met our expectations and we were very happy about it. Overall the weekend was great experience for all of us and provided everyone of us some new. It was super fun to work as a team and create a working service concept prototype.

It is great that our work can hopefully benefit young people some day.