Disconnected was designed in response to the challenge of fighting poverty in Alameda County. Nearly every year, Alameda County hosts a public-facing hackathon wherein participants are challenged to create an app or website that supports a given theme. The most recent theme surrounded fighting hunger and homelessness.
My teammate and I were asked to create and perform a sample solution and presentation so the hackathon participants could get a solid grasp on their goal for the day. With short notice, my teammate and I got to work.
First, we created a user persona. We described an adult male who has a smartphone but is currently homeless, and therefore doesn’t always have internet access. In response to that, we wanted to create something that functioned without always requiring WiFi.
Next, we did some research and asked ourselves what kinds of services someone in this situation might need, and came up with the following:
places to rent or acquire new and/or formal clothing
places to get clothes washed
Our solution to these questions is an app called Disconnected. It allows users to build up a library of resources in their area based on their preferences. The user does need internet access to start, but the role of Disconnected is to locate the nearest resources and store that information on their device so it can be accessed offline for future reference.
Disconnected works by allowing users to select their desired resources and view them in a map or list view. The goal of Disconnected is to offer a platform for people who may not have access to a data plan to find resources during challenging times.
A vibrant color scheme was chosen to differentiate the map items from each other, as well as to provide some lightness and delight for the user who may be experiencing trying times.
We had 3 minutes to pitch & present our idea. With that, the event participants were able to witness their goal in action and begin hacking!