Once classes are over, blue books have been turned in and final papers and projects sit forgotten on computer hard drives, the only remainder of most classes is a letter grade. But CPSC 113/MGM 659: Technology and Entrepreneurship is not like most classes.
The course, cross-listed in Yale’s School of Management and taught by SOM Director of Entrepreneurship Kyle Jensen, requires all members to develop a web application as a final project. Waiv is one of the projects that has emerged from this class. A centralized events platform, Waiv allows its users to see current and upcoming events in their area and filter them based on genre. Though Waiv was created for a class at Yale, the creators said they ultimately hope to expand to other college campuses, as well as other cities.
“Waiv is different because the founders seem invested in the project beyond the scope of meeting the requirements for CPSC 113,” said April Koh ’16, one of four undergraduate peer tutors for the class. “ All of the projects this year for the class are excellent, but Waiv is unique in that the team consider themselves founders, rather than teammates working on a project or a group of students trying to pass a class together.”
Created by Colleen McCormack ’17, Sara Lee ’17 and Lance Chantiles ’19, the web app is, as Chantiles described, a cure for “FOMO” — the fear of missing out. Users can open the app and see a map with pins displaying a function’s name and location as well as a brief description.
People can also search for events by category: filtering by parties, concerts, sports, speaking events and more.
“From all the user interviews we did, it was clear that people suffered from FOMO, so to speak,” Chantiles said. “On a given Friday night, you don’t know what or how many events are going on … Waiv shows what’s around you, from spontaneous to scheduled events.”
Waiv represents the culmination of a semesterlong project that required the three-person team to pitch, create, test and market its own Web-based application.
As opposed to other projects, which developed just a Web-based application, the team behind Waiv also designed an additional mobile application available for iOS and Android users, according to peer tutor Jason Brooks ’16.
“The biggest challenge the team had to overcome was figuring out how to get the application into the hands of students by the end of the semester,” Brooks said. “The deployment process for Web-based applications is very easy — the second a team is ready to deploy their service, the application goes live. With Waiv, however, since they decided to go with a mobile application for an optimal user experience, this process becomes much harder. Apple often takes weeks to approve mobile applications and modifying the app after it’s approved by Apple is a major challenge that involves a lot of time, so the Waiv team had to polish and finish their app in a significantly shorter time frame.”
The idea was born from Chantiles’ experience at Bulldog Days, when he recalled searching for events identified only by building codes that were unfamiliar to him at the time. The three hope to bring the app full circle by encouraging prospective members of the class of 2020 to use it during their Bulldog Days, which runs from April 20 to 22.
“We’re Yale-centralized right now, because we’re looking to get it out by Bulldog Days,” McCormack said. “We think it could be a great test of our app to see how a huge group of students unfamiliar with the environment around them use it to experience the events around them.”
After a brief crash course in the computer science concepts necessary to construct a Web application, the team conducted user interviews and received feedback from dozens of students from a wide cross-section of the University, Lee said.
Chantiles, who had a basic foundation of computer science after taking CS50 in the fall, praised CPSC 113’s crash course, saying the class taught him how to learn computer science rather than one specific language or framework.
Once it came time to form groups for the final project, the team came together “naturally,” McCormack said. She and Lee have been friends since freshmen year, and McCormack and Chantiles met in a section for a lecture class they both took last semester.
From there, team members divvied up tasks according to each individual’s strengths. McCormack, an electrical engineering–computer science major, entered with the most programming experience, so she worked primarily on the back-end coding; Chantiles did the majority of the front-end and design work. Lee conducted user interviews, worked on customer acquisition and took the lead on the marketing effort.
“I think one reason people are like, ‘Oh, we have Facebook events, it’s a great platform,’ is because Facebook has so much user investment in it,” Lee said. “But you only see events your friends have gone to or event’s that you’re invited to … Waiv cuts that out and specializes in current events so you can see what’s going around you but in real time.”
Adding that Waiv works only if users buy into it, Lee said she hopes users see the app’s convenience.
Once the class concludes, the team is looking forward to adding new features, such as user profiles, the ability to import events from Facebook, “can’t miss” events and push notifications.
The group has even discussed the possibility of adding a feature that allows users to conduct polls.
“If the team applies themselves with the same level of focus and passion as they’ve been doing so far, the app will go far,” Koh said. “Apps like this depend on tenacity and perseverance for success … College events apps are super cool when you are doing them in school, because not having FOMO is the most important thing in the world as a college student. But after you leave school, you realize you want to solve other problems, like helping adults do adult things like file taxes. You outgrow the idea of eradicating FOMO. But if Waiv is passionate and resilient, it can go far.”
Users can download Waiv from the Apple App Store or the Android Play Store on Friday, April 22.