Author Archives: Will Yeager

Demo Day has come and gone!

Woohoo!!

Demo Day has come and gone! We hope that you were able to make it to demo day and that you enjoyed all of the different apps that you saw. Congratulations to Snowball for taking home the big W. The App Store clearly doesn’t know what they are missing by not approving their app already! We are really proud of all of the work our classmates out in to create some really stellar apps. Shout out to Bao from MemoryCap for being the only developer on the team and coding the ENTIRE app. That is one impressive guy right there! And the whole time he didn’t even complain. What a guy.

As you all know we did have several technical difficulties during the presentation. It was a very unfortunate situation especially since we had everything set up beforehand and it was all working properly! However, minus the technical difficulties we had during our presentation Demo Day was a success! For those of you that came we truly appreciate it. You all have been the reason for us to continue working so diligently on Voyce. We hope that you all enjoy the app and make good use of it!

We do have some long term stretch goals for Voyce so keep on the lookout for some future updates. Of course we are always working to fix bugs and eliminate software issues, but we are also wanting to implement a way of adding and communicating with friends.

As you all know right now Voyce is open to the public. Anyone can see the content posted by everyone else. We know that it would be really neat to also allow a private feature as well, so that is what we will be implementing next. We think it would be really cool to have friends or followers in the app that could see the content you posted. Having both a public and private option, like Twitter would be a really great feature to have.

Thank you all very much for sticking with us throughout the semester. It takes a true fan (or professor) to read through this blog post each week! You all rock. We hope to continue to use you all with TestFlight when we further develop the app so stay on the lookout!

As always you can check out our Facebook and Twitter pages for more information. Thank you all for everything. We will be staying in touch! Enjoy these pictures from demo day below!

 

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Commercial 4 is done!

What’s up!!!!

We are finally wrapping up Voyce! We had a busy week on both the marketing side of things and the technical side. Everyone has been working really, really hard and we are proud of the work we have accomplished. Thank you all for hanging in there with us and staying to the end!

It’s so hard to believe that we started from those hand drawn sketches and the unattractive mockups to a working, functional app. We honestly can’t believe that Voyce is in the app store! We were approved and this week we released our first update, Version 1.1. With that release we changed the time lapse on the login screen, added mobility within the app, and fixed some backend syncing issues.

You all should be expecting version 1.1.1 in the app store the next couple of days. It is currently being processed, but when released it will feature yet another time lapse change, better navigation through the app, server syncing fixes, font changes, color changes, a loading screen and overall bug fixes. We worked really hard this week on the technical side to get as many kinks out of Voyce as possible! We hope you enjoy!

There are definitely still quite a few bugs and issues with the app, but we will continue to work hard this week to get as many of those bugs fixed. Thanks for your feedback and for testing out our app. It’s been helpful as we have found out some problems we didn’t anticipate. That is okay! We wouldn’t be able to fix the issues if we didn’t know about them.

We look forward to demo day as we have prepared quite a bit for it! We decided that on our attire for the day so everyone be sure to check it out! We are in the process of getting custom made t-shirts with our logo on them. They are going to be great. This week we came up with a script and PowerPoint presentation for demo day, but we shouldn’t say more because we don’t want to spoil anything!

We were also able to shoot and produce our fourth Voyce commercial. This one is our favorite yet! We filmed random people around campus using Voyce and put them all together in a compilation. You can view the video below. Enjoy!

We really appreciate all of your patience as we create this new app. We are continuing to update Voyce so every release should be significantly better than the last. Stay tuned for more updates in the app store. You all rock! Keep watching our social media accounts and keep being awesome!

 

Demo Day is Quickly Approaching!!

What’s up fellow humans!

We hope that you all have been doing well and that you had an excellent Easter Sunday! We’ve been working hard to improve Voyce. We want this to be a really great application for you all, and we want it to be something that you enjoy using. The past week we put in some major work on the technical side of Voyce.

First of all, we went through the app and looked for as many bugs and nonworking parts as we would. We created a laundry list of items that needed to be fixed or improved. One of the tasks we had for this week was to fix as many of these problems as we could. We noticed that videos in a thread sometimes play backwards, out of order and/or very fast, after submitting a video before the preview has finished playing, the preview continues to play in the background until it is over, and that the app has hard time synchronizing with the server. We also came up with a list of features we will be temporarily removing from the application. We found that some of these features are causing issues with other parts of the app. Until we can get the app functioning properly, we won’t add the my videos, favorites, or the search feature. Don’t worry! These will be in the final version of the application which will be released by demo day!

Another important task we completed was coming up with a technical plan from now until demo day. This week the computer science members of our app worked on getting the video player worked out. After meeting several times throughout the week they were able to get the videos playing in the right order and at the right speed! It was a big win for them as it took a lot of work to diagnose and fix exactly what was wrong. This week we also looked at getting the app to sync with our server. In the past, the a user would have to close and reopen the app to get it to refresh. It would not sync automatically with the server, so videos that were recorded and added could not be seen by other users unless they closed the app and opened it again. This could be a big issue! We still haven’t been able to get this feature working entirely, but we are working hard to get the issue resolved.

On the front end of the app, we made some minor UI changes. We were able to add the logo into the app and we also swapped out the old time lapse video of the UT Tower with a new and improved video. The reason we had to switch the video out is because we found out there could be copyright issues with using the UT Tower! The University of Texas owns the rights to the Tower and we could get in pretty big trouble if we use it without their permission! Have no fear though, the new times lapse is pretty cool too as it features the area in front of the UT tower..

We really appreciate all of your patience with us this semester! This has been an interesting yet fun project for us, as none of us had any experience programming in swift or programming iOS applications. It’s definitely been a learning as we go process. That said, we’ve been trying to do what’s best for you all. Check out our new website that we also created this week. It’s a small, informative site that just gives information about Voyce and about our team. Please share it with your friends and family! To view, click here.

Below is a screenshot of the site.

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 10.31.12 PM

Thanks again for all of your patience and input! Please continue to be great in supporting us and reading our blog. We really do appreciate it. We’ll be sure to continue to post updates on our social media pages and we’ll let you know of major news here through this blog. Have a wonderful week everyone! Demo day is quickly approaching!

 

Voyce was approved!!!

What’s up everyone!

We are very excited to tell you that the build we uploaded to the app store was approved! Unfortunately we aren’t quite ready to release it, but at least we now know how to get everything uploaded properly! We don’t want to release just yet because we know there is a lot more work to do. We here at team Voyce want you all to have the best first impression of our application as possible. You all should be expecting us to release an updated build by our next blog post. Be sure to watch our social media accounts as we will post information about our releases there.

This past Monday we crammed and worked hard to get Voyce uploaded and submitted for app review, so we took a very short break from working on the app. It was a well deserved break and I know our computer science team who has been working so hard on the app really enjoyed the day off.

That said, we were back working hard on Wednesday. The team came up with a long list of all the technical items we would like to complete before our next build release. Some of those items include integrating the UI from our mockups, making sure every button within Voyce is functioning, changing some of the aesthetic looks of the video information screen, implementing a better functioning back button on the video viewing screen and adding a block feature so that users can block other accounts they are not comfortable with.

On the marketing side of Voyce, we will be creating an informational website about the application, what it does and all of its features. We have not purchased a domain name just yet, but as always, please stay on the lookout on our social media for updates. We will post it there as soon as we have the information! We also created another commercial for Voyce. This one is our favorite so far! You can view it below!

We have our Demo Day coming up very soon. This will be a day where we show off all of our hard work on Voyce. Members of the public and of the UT community will come together to see all of the apps our class has created. We hope to see you all there! We will be busy these next couple of weeks not only getting Voyce ready, but also preparing for Demo Day. The date is set for Saturday April, 29 from noon to 3 p.m. Join us and be entertained by not just Voyce but other apps from our classmates including Dresser, Snowball, Repped and MemoryCap.

Almost There!!!!

Hi everyone!

The week is finally here. We are submitting to the app store this week! We’ve been working  hard to get everything ready. Our computer science students have been adding the essential features to our app and have also been modifying and improving the UI of Voyce.

When we left off last week Voyce was able to capture a video, upload that video to a server and then retrieve the video back to the application. This week we worked on getting that video integrated into the “Video” screen in the app.

Our computer science team worked on getting the video preview to show up. After a user has recorded a video, he/she can either use the video or discard the video and record again. You can see some of the screens we have created below.

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Once the user has recorded a video to their satisfactory, they are taken to a “Video Options Screen.” We made that screen this week. Our computer science team was quite busy; they definitely put in work. They integrated all of the necessary components of Voyce to get it submitted to the app store. Those components included integrating Han’s video viewer with the home screen, creating a “response to video” button on the viewer, adding a flag feature to the video viewer, on the video options screen changing options to a drop down rather than fill in the blank and integrating the UI we created into app.

We were also able to set up TestFlight and get a beta version of Voyce up and running. For right now, it is just friends and relatives that can use the beta. We are planning on sharing the beta version with others as the app improves.

One of the other tasks we accomplished this week was creating a privacy policy for Voyce. Most applications that are submitted into the app store do require some sort of privacy policy. So we are glad that we were able to get this accomplished. We ended up using a template from another application policy.

We are excited to bring Voyce to you and we hope that you all enjoy the app. We will let you know if it gets accepted into the store and we will be sure to keep you updated. We really hope it does get approved by the app store!

Technical Advances

Hi all!

We hope that you all had a relaxing Spring Break! While you all were either skiing in Colorado or at the Beach in South Padre the computer science members of our team were working hard. Over Spring Break we got our backend setup and working. We are using Amazon Web Services (AWS) for a backend. This choice should allow for easy integration with the front end and user interface of Voyce. We hope that you all are as excited about these advancements as we are. We are starting to see pieces come together and a functioning app.

One of the most difficult parts on the backend side of Voyce was to be able to send and receive videos from the server. Our computer science members conquered a huge task this week by being able to upload a short, recorded video to the server, and then retrieve it back to the app. This is an essential part of Voyce so we are very glad that our computer science members were able to get it working without too much trouble. The app can now communicate with the 23 service from AWS. The computer science guys also added a filter so that users can only record a video for 15 seconds. Shout out to those guys for putting in work!

Another technical aspect of the application we worked on was the login screen. Rather using a stock image for the background, we came up with the idea of using a video for the app. The login screen is now a time lapse of the UT Tower. We figured this would be pretty cool as it integrated both the UT theme and the video. This is definitely a good one! The login process is remains the same; users will be able to login and logout with their Facebook credentials. We will use other features of the Facebook API to import profile pics, for instance.

We were also able to get the UI integrated with xCode. We now have several screens ready to be copied and pasted into the actual app. You can see these screens below. We are excited to add these to the functioning app. We will finally have an app that looks similar to our prototypes. Progress is taking place!

While out computer science members were hard at work on the technical side of things, the journalism students were working hard on social media making sure to post a few times a week. We hope that you all have been seeing our posts and sharing them. If you are already, keep up the good work! If you aren’t, then you should start!

We set a goal of posting to Twitter and Facebook at least 3 times per week, and we want to create posts that are more engaging and invite our potential audience to interact with us and follow us. To that end, we created a schedule for posts throughout the next couple of weeks, we have begun asking a specific question to our audience about college life related to the content of our app between two. For example, a post could ask, “What is your favorite class you have taken in college?” or “What plans did you have over spring break?” Since our app will be video-based, we are using these questions to directly invite the audience to share their own video answering the prompt, either by telling us their thoughts or showing us a part of their college experience. We are giving our audience to share their videos by promising a chance to win a prize; similar with what we did to get people to take our survey, we will choose the best video submitted over the semester and give the video’s creator a gift card on Demo Day. If you want a chance to win this prize, send us a video!

Thank you all again for reading our post this week. We will continue to keep you all updated and are excited to be making this app for you. You all rock. Keep reading and keep staying hopeful. We won’t let you down!

Moving Right Along

Hello all,

We’ve got some great news for this week! We finally solidified our backend choice. We’ve decided to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) for our backend server. Shannon and Hans will be working with AWS allowing it to do all of the heavy lifting for us. The backend should actually be close to complete by the middle of this week. We decided to use AWS opposed to the homemade backend that we started previously, because after doing diving deeper into that one, we realized that it was going to be a lot more work than we thought! Our homemade backend may have allowed us to give the app some more features and increase usability, but the logistics and time commitment were just not lining up very well. There is no need to fear! You won’t even notice a difference in the app with this new backend. We are really moving and are on the right track.

This week we also mapped out every possible screen that we would need to get this app up on the app store by April. All of the mockups are complete and you can see a few of the below. A noticeable change is with the home screen. We made the font a little smaller, changed the location of the favorites button and added a counter for the number of clips in each thread. You can also see the mockups for The Log-in screen, the pr, the video viewer and the profile screen. Please leave feedback for us on our Facebook and Twitter! We hope to have all of these screens up and running at first release to the app store, but we aren’t sure if it is going to happen. We will definitely have the essentials there and you may see some of the other screen after our first update.

Updated Log-In Screen-01 Video Viewer Screen-01 Updated Home Screen User Profile Screen

This week we did quite a bit of work on the technical side of the app. The backend is definitely moving, and while Hans and Shannon are working on it, Evan will be working on the User Interface (UI) of the app. He will be trying to make the front-end of the app look like the mockups that we have created. We are going to start with one screen, and then use that screen as a template to create the others. Our app will finally start looking like the mockups.

We thank you all for being patient with us and hanging in there. Voyce is going to be super exciting and we hope that you all enjoy! To promote it, we have created our second commercial, It’s much shorter than the first one and hopefully a little funnier. You can view the commercial below.

Thank you all for reading this weeks blog post! We are very excited to be creating this app for you. We are confident that you all will enjoy using it. As always please provide with feedback and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook! Have a relaxing Spring Break everyone!

Facebook: @VoyceApp17

Twitter: @VoyceApp

Please Take Our Survey!!

Hello all!

We’ve got some relatively big changes coming up this week! After having the opportunity to table on campus and hear feedback from our fellow students, we discovered that the content of Voyce may be a little too broad. As it is right now, there will be several different categories where threads can begin. These categories range in topic from Food to Campus Life to Politics. We asked ourselves and our peers, “Why would you use Voyce opposed to Facebook or some other social media platform?” While this application does use video a little more heavily than many other platforms, most of the others have a way of posting videos.

After analyzing survey data, we concurred that if students wanted to post about a general topic or be able to post about anything they wanted to, they would probably just post on a platform they were already familiar with, like Facebook or Twitter. There wasn’t really any way to distinguish our app from other social media platforms. We noticed that many people would only use the app, if their friends were using it as well. After realizing this we are making the decision to narrow the focus of our app to Campus Life. The whole point behind the app was to get different voices from different people to hear different ideas about different topics. We didn’t necessarily mean for it to be a way to connect with your friends!

We know narrowing the focus of Voyce may seem like a big change, but actually the functionality of the app is going to stay the same. (Our computer science group members are happy about that!) The only thing that we are changing is the content of the app. Layout, design, and usage will all remain as they are now! The mockups that you have been seeing are still what we hope the application to look like come April.

Since Voyce was already targeted towards college students to begin with, we don’t think this change will affect the application too much. We are sticking with the same name and logo. The only thing we might change is the slogan. “The Social Discussion App for College” is just a little too broad. We are still tossing ideas around, but thought that “The Guide to UT. Made by students, for students.” might work. What do you all think? If you have any suggestions or thoughts about the slogan, please send them in through Twitter! Below are some of the new mockups that we created for the app. They still reflect the old topic, but the functionality will remain the same.

 

Updated Home Screen

Updated Home Screen

Updated Video Screen

Updated Video Screen

Updated Favorites Screen

Updated Favorites Screen

Updated Profile Screen

Updated Profile Screen

This week we’ve focused a ton on advertising for our app. We were able to table on campus two days this week and as you know by our topic change, we got some valuable feedback from students. We want to thank everyone who participated in our survey. The survey is still open so if you haven’t already taken it, please do. You could win a $25 gift card to Starbucks for just a few minutes of your time! The survey form is below.

We also focused a ton on advertising and getting the Voyce name out there. As you all know by the changes, we were able to table and get quite a bit of feedback. The way we did that was by creating promotional items to support out application. We ended up creating a 6 x 2 ft. banner with the Voyce logo. In addition to creating all of the new mockups you saw in the survey, we also created a piece with basic information about Voyce and a QR code linked to the survey. While tabling we were also able to hand out business cards with our social media information. Although we did a lot to promote Voyce, we still need more feedback. Please tell your friends to come check us out this week! We will be tabling again in the West Mall and possibly in front of Gregory Gym. Stay tuned for details. You can see some of our promotional items below.

 

How it Works

How it Works

Voyce Ad

QR code for our survey!

QR code for our survey!

As for the technical side of Voyce, we have made some noteworthy progress. We have finally decided on a back-end to use for the application. Rather than using a service life Firebase, we have deciding to stick with a handmade backend created by ourselves. We know this will be a lot of work, but have decided that it will give us more flexibility and allow us to do more with Voyce. By the end of the week, we should have at least four of the critical elements of Voyce working. We are focusing on getting the back end and the front end to communicate with each other this week. Do not fear folks, we have a backup plan if this homemade back-end does not work. We’ve got you covered so come April, you will be able to download the app! There are more technical details to come.

Thank you all for reading all the way through this one. This week was definitely a bit longer than usual, but it was necessary because we had a lot to talk about! Thank you all for staying engaged with us and for showing interest in Voyce. We are excited to continue working on out so that you all can enjoy it in April! If you would like to provide feedback we would really appreciate that! You can do so through our social media platforms. Don’t forget to follow us!

Facebook: @VoyceApp17

Twitter: @VoyceApp

The Commercial is Out!

Hi everyone!

We’ve been busy this week and we feel like we got a lot accomplished! It’s been a great experience creating this app so far, and we thank each and every one of you for continuing to read our blog. Thank you for providing us with the valuable feedback we need to improve this app! We hope you continue to enjoy this blog and keep coming back each week!

We started a big part of promoting Voyce this week by creating our very first Voyce commercial. This one is a bit of a longer one, but we hope you enjoy. We had the idea of using Star Wars as our heated topic. We know so many people argue over the sequels or the prequels being better, and we thought that it would be the perfect discussion topic for our app. In the video die hard fans of Jar Jar Binks and Han Solo get into a Twitter fight. But that’s enough of that! You all can watch the commercial yourselves! It’s linked below. Be sure to share this commercial with all of your friends!

While busy making the video, we were also eagerly awaiting your responses to the surveys we sent our about the app and of course about Star Wars. Thank you all for your your participation! We have only received a couple of survey responses so far, but the feedback has been informative and mostly positive. We learned that our app is appealing to our audience, especially if we make the concept behind our app clear. Although the sample size is too small to be sure yet, we also learned that people are most interested in using the app to discuss politics, but there is interest in the “food” and “college life” topic categories. Please be sure to stay on the lookout for more surveys! You should expect more your way and next week we will hopefully be able to have a live demonstration for you all. We plan on setting up shop in the West Mall or outside of Gregory Gym next week one afternoon. Check back here for more updates!

On the design side of things, we were able to create the icons that we need for Voyce. These are going to be a huge part of the app and we hope you enjoy them! We had to create three different sizes of each icon so that you all are able to use Voyce on all of your devices. It was a lot of extra work, but we know that it will be worth it when you all get to use Voyce on not only your different sized iPhones, but also your iPads! Below you all can see just a few of the icons that we have picked out for the app!

Video Icon

Video Icon

Settings Icon

Settings Icon

Home Icon

Home Icon

Favorite Icon

Favorites Icon

The technical and programming side of the app is moving along quite nicely. We have working screens and plan on refining the design within xCode this next week. This week we have successfully removed all the other authentication methods such as Google and Twitter, leaving the user to only login using Facebook. This reduced the size of the codebase and its dependencies and sped up the debugging process. Removing the other authentication methods fixed a bug in which a user won’t be able to get past the Facebook authentication page thus resulting in a crash. Additionally, we have successfully implemented a camera function for our application. Right now, we are have managed to get buttons for the camera to toggle between the back and front cameras of the iPhone and another button to toggle flash. We are still in the process of trying to make a button to record video and hopefully we will be able to flesh out its core functionality by the end of the sprint.

Thank you all so much for checking back with us each week. We are just as excited as you all for the launch of this awesome, new app. Voyce is going to be great, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Please continue providing us with the valuable feedback we need to improve the app and exceed your expectations! Don’t forget to tune back in next week!

 

Change (for the better!) is in the Air

Hello everyone!

This week, we officially launched our social media communication efforts through Facebook and Twitter. (Go check us out and follow us on Twitter (@VoyceApp) and on Facebook (@VoyceApp17)!) We also updated our accounts with our new app icon, but you’ll read more about that later. We’re beginning to spread the word about our app through social media, starting with our friends and classmates, and the next step is to spread awareness of our app to more UT students by advertising in the UT Journalism and UT Computer Science Facebook groups, as well as following and interacting with people on Twitter who may be interested in testing and using our app. In the next week or two, we may even set up shop in the West Mall and have people passing by test out our app. We will get you all more information on that later. Keep checking back to see what we are up to!

Now that we settled on a name, target user and general tone and look of the app, we came up with an icon for the app, check it out below:

The new logo for "Voyce"

The new logo for “Voyce”

We decided that a simple look would be best, so we found a set of icons that reflected this simplicity. We also settled on a color scheme of navy blue, white and burnt orange. Our primary target at launch is going to be University of Texas students and faculty so we decided this color scheme would be fitting. A feature that we might implement in the future (for all of you non-UT student fans) is an option to change the color scheme of the app. That probably won’t happen until later down the line once we have a functioning app, but it is definitely something to be on the lookout for! Eventually, we want this app to expand to other universities and potentially even high school as well. Below is a picture of our Home screen with our new, updated color scheme. What do you all think?

The Home Screen

The Home Screen

This week we worked on designing even more screens for the app. We have several very basic mockups of the Search, About Me, Menu and Favorites sections. These are very simple and all drawn on paper by hand. We sat down together on Thursday and hashed out the details of all of these pages. You all should be expecting to see some more complete mockups of these screen in the next few weeks.

Speaking of “Favorites,” that’s actually an entire new section of the app we decided to add. After discussing the map section of the app, we felt that while that element was really cool and had the potential to spark more interest, we decided to put it on the back burner for now. After much thought, a couple of our computer science members voiced concerns that the map section was a big project and that we might not have time to complete it. We decided as a group to hold off on the map section and replace it with a new “Favorites” section. Users will be able to favorite certain threads and then view them in a specific section of the app. The section will be identified by a 5 pointed star. The “favorite” option will appear on all threads and will act as a filter. Users will be able to use the “Favorites” page to filter only content they want to see. We hope you all enjoy it! If we have time at the end, we will definitely consider adding the maps section once again. It was just seems a very difficult task to accomplish considering we have less than 2 months to get this app up and running!

In addition to adding the “Favorites” screen you may have also noticed that we added a “Video screen. We added this because we want our users to know that the main purpose of this app is to post videos and share your own thoughts. In our previous mock-ups the “add video” button was a little too hidden. It didn’t make it obvious to users that one of the key components of the app is to create your own videos! By creating a completely separate section, where users will go to post videos, we believe will help users understand that adding their own videos is a huge part of the app. The app can’t be successful without content!

For the programming side, we decided to use Firebase for our backend and created basic screens for the app itself. There is simple functionality and we integrated Facebook, Google, and Twitter for the login into our app. Also, the screens for home, my favorites, and settings are ready to be populated. The main navigation has also basic functionality and it will be improved with a better design later on. Finally, for the home screen, we chose to have a horizontal navigation bar for the categories and its basic functionality was tested and ready to be integrated in our app. Below is what we’ve started programming into xCode! It’s exciting stuff. This is the first step in actually programming the app!

The Settings Page

The Settings Page

The Log-in Page

The Log-in Page

The Home Page

The Home Page

The Favorites Page

The Favorites Page

Please continue checking back in with us each week. We’d love to hear your feedback. We are making this app for you! Stay tuned for more updates.