REU Week 3

This week has been another busy and interesting one! Things haven’t been moving quite as fast as I’d imagined, though I think that was partly due to illness on my part. There’s never a good time to get sick, but this week especially was pretty inconvenient… I’ll likely be doing a good amount of work this weekend to make sure I’m all caught up!

Michael and I were lucky enough to be featured on the ProHealth Facebook page this week, thanks to Gustavo! Check it out below!

#SpotlightOfTheWeek: Michael Saganich (Georgetown University) and Sheraya Smith (DePauw University) are working with…

Posted by Indiana University ProHealth REU Site on Monday, June 4, 2018

Despite some setbacks, we definitely made some good headway on a couple of fronts this week. On Monday, after surveying and finding that our fellow ProHealth students (*cough cough* aka prospective lab testing participants *cough cough*) nearly all owned iPhones, we quickly decided it would probably be best to develop an app for iOS.

I don’t know if we realized the full gravity of our decision when we made it; for example, I’ve since learned that creating an iOS app would mean I needed to obtain a Mac computer, download a huge piece of software (xCode), and learn an entirely new programming language (Swift). Also, it looks like we would have to pay $99 a year to upload to the App Store, where as uploading to the Google Play Store has a one-time fee of $25. This being said, we definitely want our app to be usable by the most amount of people, and if most people have iPhones, then we’ll stick to that. On the plus side of things, as Dr. Clawson mentioned this week, not many undergrads get the chance to develop an iOS app, so that’ll be something to put on our resumes that will stick out!

Thankfully, finding a Mac was not a problem (thank you Dr. Siek!), and though it took a day or so to get everything updated and downloaded, things now seem to be moving along: I made my first app this week! Even if it’s just the classic, cliche “Hello, World!,” at least it runs!

I’ve since moved on to creating an app that actually interacts with users; it’s very simple, but again, it runs. If you press the button labeled “right”, it displays “right button pushed,” and vice versa.

This second app into particular introduced me to the world of Auto-Layout and creating constraints – hoo boy! Overall, it’s been very interesting so far, and I’m excited to get deeper into things, but it’s just moving a lot slower than I might have hoped. Apart from learning this new IDE and language, Michael and I will also be navigating some sort of team-sharing repository; we’ll likely be using GitHub, but that tends to stress me out, so if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to let me know!

Apart from app development, Michael and I have plugging along on reading related works and working on our paper. I’ve lately been focusing on interruptions and how we respond to them, which has been really interesting. Despite our reading group that started this week, I haven’t quite met our goal of one-two papers a day, which I’m a little frustrated with myself for. Next week I’ll definitely look more into microinteractions, as I’m realizing that it’s significantly different from microtasks.

We’ve also now got a firmer grasp on what our app will be: we’re planning on daily compiling a mom’s social media posts and updates as well as voice memos and notes into a virtual, automatic journal “entry” in order to capture the entire experience of motherhood. We’re also really trying to do this in a way that’s of least burden to the mom as possible, since she’s got a new baby on her hands.

Below are some quick important take-aways from this week:

Some failures from this week:

  • not staying healthy 🙁
  • not personally meeting our paper-reading goals
  • not realizing how much of a learning curve XCode and Swift would be

Our goals for early next week:

  • think on what the back end of our app might look like
  • expand out list of inputs/outputs
  • create function diagrams
  • create a list of features we want included in our app

Timeline for the rest of the summer (highlighted text means it’s been altered from previous weeks):

  • Week 4: Have application started, develop ideas on what the back end of the app will look like, figure out what features we want to develop and research how to implement them
  • Weeks 5-8: Create the app, implement desired features
  • Week 9: Start field testing with other ProHealth students
  • Week 10: Devise ways for sharing this app with other students for further testing; ie: first-year SICE students to track their first couple weeks at college; do debugging and other minor adjustments

Here’s to hoping that this time next week we’ll be deep into programming and feeling “above the weather”!