by Cole Gawin

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April 18, 2021

The Well App — Cole Gawin

Winning Hackathon Project! Improve your productivity and long-term happiness in just 21 days. Backed by research from leading doctors and psychologists.

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This was my winning (honorable mention) entry for the HackVH hackathon, created from scratch in 36 hrs. I programmed the app with Flutter and designed it with Figma. I researched positive psychology for this project and developed a 21-day program for it.

Below is my writeup for the project; read about the problem it intends to address and our solution.

The problem

It's an understatement to say that many students and even adults feel the overwhelming pressure to perform and achieve highly in our society. This leads to feelings of anxiety, stress, and of course, burn out. In turn, these emotions negatively affect our productivity and overall happiness. This evidently creates a feedback loop wherein we are unable to be productive and escape burn out.

How can we fix this pressing issue? Unsurprisingly, there has been research into how we can do so. Research has shown that daily reflection increases our wellbeing and state of mind. This only involves small, simple activities that challenge you to reflect on your day. Where we come along is compiling these small activities into a friendly interface that will help people to make a positive impact on their wellbeing.

Our solution

Introducing the Well app! The Well app is a 21-day sprint that encourages its users to reflect on their day, every day. There are 5 daily tasks that the Well app asks you to complete each day: record 3 gratitudes, write a journal entry, perform 3 acts of kindness, exercise for 20 minutes, and meditate for 15 minutes.

Why 21 days? The inspiration behind this comes from positive psychology advocate Shawn Achor, whose work found that in only 21 days, you can rewire your brain to think more optimistically, which will increase your happiness and productivity.

App description

On the progress page, you can see your progress for the day. Once you have completed all of your tasks, you will reach 100% completion!

On the overview page, you can enter in the tasks you have completed today. Swipe from left-to-right for each tab to see everything you have entered and what you have left to enter.

On the overview page, you can see your stats throughout your progress on the 21 day sprint. You will see how many gratitudes, journals, and acts of kindness you have entered, in addition to the total amount of exercise and meditation you have done since starting the sprint.

On the inspiration page, you can receive inspiration from your past entries on the Well app. You can view previous gratitudes, previous journal entries, and even previous acts of kindness that will inspire you each day to be more optimistic!

How we built it

Our app was built with the Flutter app development framework. For persistent storage (database), we used the Hive plugin which allowed us to write custom schema and save it to a local database. The app uses the font "Lora" as its main font, and the design of the app adheres to the material design guidelines.

For design, we used Figma; using Figma, we designed the app UI, transitions between pages, and UX. For development, we used IntelliJ IDEA which comes with a "Code with me" plugin that allowed us to simultaneously code our project while chatting with one another inside the IDE.

Challenges we ran into

Where to start! Like any project in which you only have less than two days to complete, there are bound to be tons of challenges and obstacles you need to overcome. Four us, our main challenge was that he graphics rendering engine of Flutter can be very finicky, and as such, it took a while to design pixel-perfect UIs. However, once we got a grasp of how it works, it was much easier to turn our Figma designs into reality. Furthermore, since the Web and Desktop versions of Flutter are still technically in development, there were still bugs that needed to be worked-around in code. Things like inconsistent designs across platforms and improper font rendering needed to be ironed out.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud that we were just able to get a fully working app completed in ~36 hours (sleepless nights and noise-cancelling headphones got us through)! Regarding the app, we are very proud of how polished it looks, especially considering how closely it resembles our original designs. We put so much thought into every page that it was amazing to see it turn out as well as it did.

Most importantly, we are proud of the actual impact our project may be able to have on the world. Stress, anxiety, and burn out are serious issues that are often overlooked or simply brushed off to our side, but with our project, we hope that people will be able to address them head-on and become more optimistic and productive in the long run.

What we learned

So much! This was our first time working with Flutter for an actual app, so figuring out how to work with it was a challenge but was definitely worth it for our future as programmers. Designing our app before coding it was also a great choice because we knew exactly how we wanted it to look before actually starting the programming process.

In terms of life skills, not only did we improve our coding skills, but we learned how we can better manage stress and burn out in our daily lives. As students, this is definitely something that we constantly face, but having these skills can help us to improve our wellbeing.

What's next for The Well App

We plan on continuing development for the Well app. There are more features we would like to add, like a daily reminder to complete your tasks and enter them in the Well app. We also would like to grow a user-base of people to test the app and become more optimistic in their day to day lives. To reach a vast array of people, we plan on adding localization for multiple languages so that users who speak a language other than English can use the app as well.

The Well App will stay open-sourced so that contributors can add new features and fix bugs. This will foster a sense of community so that the Well app suites everyone's needs.

Try it out

GitHub Repo

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made withby Cole Gawin