The first demo of the Bring A Buddy Relaunch app successfully took place the morning of March 27, with hopes of the app being completed by the end of May.
The Bring A Buddy app will allow friends to find each other when they are downtown, so that they do not end up walking home alone.
“It’s a way for students to link up their smart phones with their circle of friends downtown,” said Jenna Furger, the public relations and communications director of Student Government Association.
The app will use something similar to Google Maps and be able to tell users which bar friends are at if they get split up. At bar close, there will be a pop up with information on safe rides and ways to get home. Students will also be able to check in to a location, chat with your friends, see your friends’ location on the map and even set a status for your circle. Users may leave their circle of friends at any time so the application stops tracking them.
“Your name will appear red on the app while you are out, and then once you are home and it will turn green,” Furger said.
The Bring a Buddy campaign was started to educate students on the importance of having someone with you when walking home after Eric Duffey’s tragic death in the Wisconsin River.
Joan Duffey, Eric’s mother, has previously said that she would never let herself become one of those parents who never came to accept losing her child. She decided that she wanted to do something so that this type of tragedy would not take any other lives.
Duffey and her husband, Daron, teamed up with SGA and decided to start the campaign in an effort to turn a tragedy into something helpful.
With the new smartphone app, the campaign will be able to help students even more.
Jaime Carbo, a computer information systems student at UWSP, is developing the application as an independent study course.
“Jaime is getting school credit for designing this app,” Furger said. “It’s nice having the university on board.”
“The first thing Jenna and I did was establish the main functionality of the application,” Carbo said. “I then performed extensive research on the best design practices for mobile applications. We wanted to make sure that the application would be easy to use.”
Carbo says that the design of the app is still changing.
“The original idea of the design has gone thru several iterations. At the beginning of the semester the application looked very different but as we incorporated new ideas and features, it forced the design to change with it,” Carbo said.
For example, in January they had not talked about incorporating a map into the design and now there is one.
“I wanted to make sure the application was easy for the user to navigate so certain changes on the design had to be incorporated as we began to add more features to it,” Carbo said. “I would say that in total, over 40 hours were spent on research and implementation alone but like I said, that number is still growing.”
The app is currently being tested so that any issues with it can be resolved before it becomes available to students.
“The first demo for students will take place in two weeks,” Furger said.