Building a Textbook Exchange App Spring 2017
In a class called Advanced Programming Techniques, I and four other team members developed an app for Princeton students to exchange textbooks. At Princeton, most students use a Facebook page for buying and selling textbooks that is ill-suited to the task. The Facebook page we found required searching through non-standardized posts, making it difficult to find what you want. Our solution was Nextbook, an Android and IOS app built with React Native, making the exchange process much more streamlined. Were I to redo the project, I would have done much more user testing and visual design, but my main objective was to learn React Native and build the front-end of the app, which was my responsibility.
As a group of five, my team learned a lot about task management and team dynamics. Though I originally intended to focus on the UX and visual design, I ended up becoming the resident expert on React Native, coding the majority of the front end. This gave me the opportunity to understand the abilities and limitations of the tech, enhancing my skills as a designer.
As the apps were Princeton-specific, we allowed users to login with their school credentials using CAS authentication.
On the homepage, users can see the books they've marked for watching and the books they are currently selling. Using a side navigation bar, they can search for books, see what listings are available, and see the books they're selling.
Instead of searching a non-standardized data set on a platform like Facebook, Nextbook allows students to search by ISBN, course, or book title/author. We scraped the course registrar to populate a database of all the course books required at Princeton.
Buying a Book
Upon finding the book you want, you can see the listings posted for that book. To buy a book, you simply send a pre-populated text message to the seller. The process is much more streamlined than the current system and allows users to find better prices on the books they want.
Selling a Book
To sell a book, you just have to search to find the book in our database of Princeton course books, and fill in information like price and condition.