Cre8Team is a centralized hub that empowers individuals to explore thrilling projects and connect with potential partners for collaborative work. It addresses the lack of a unified platform for project exploration and collaboration, providing professionals, freelancers, entrepreneurs, students, and others with opportunities for professional development, real-world experience, and skill enrichment.
How might we help individuals find projects and collaborators to enhance their professional development, gain valuable real-world experience, and enrich their skill set?
User Pain Points
- Difficulty in finding reliable and committed collaborators who share their vision and can contribute to the success of their projects.
- Time-consuming and inefficient networking processes to find potential collaborators.
- Lack of a centralized platform where they can easily post projects and manage applications.
- Limited access to projects that align with their interests, skills, and career goals.
- Challenges in finding collaborative opportunities that offer real-world experience and the chance to work with professionals in their chosen field.
- The absence of a platform that effectively categorizes projects based on industry, required skills, and growth potential (Stretch Goal).
Mentors (Stretch Goal)
- Limited visibility into projects seeking mentorship or guidance from experienced professionals.
- Difficulty in finding projects that specifically require their expertise and offer opportunities for mentoring.
- Inefficient process of searching for projects that match their interests and availability as mentors.
User Research Data
Cre8Team is a web-based application that serves as a centralized hub for individuals seeking projects and collaborators. It provides a user-friendly interface where professionals, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and students can easily explore diverse projects and connect with like-minded partners for collaborative work. Cre8Team aims to streamline the project discovery process, enhance professional development, and facilitate meaningful connections in the industry.
- Project Creation: Easily create detailed project posts with comprehensive descriptions and required skills.
- Applicant Management: Access and review applicant profiles to make informed decisions on potential collaborators.
- Communication and Collaboration: Efficiently manage collaboration by receiving applicant notifications and initiating communication with suitable candidates (Stretch Goal).
- Application and Communication: Easily apply to projects, submit resumes, and engage in communication with project initiators.
- Project Search: Find relevant projects based on keywords.
- Project Filter: Filter projects by industry, role, and location (Stretch Goal).
- Real-Time Collaboration: Seamlessly engage in real-time text, voice, and video communication with project initiators (Stretch Goal).
To attract its first group of project initiators and seekers, Cre8Team will employ targeted marketing and outreach efforts, focusing on specific industries with high demand for project collaboration. Additionally, the platform will leverage personal networks of its team members to spread awareness and implement a referral program to encourage word-of-mouth marketing. Finally, Cre8Team will collaborate with educational institutions to connect with potential project seekers, such as students and recent graduates, offering them real-world experience and skill enhancement opportunities.
Simplicity and user-friendliness were key considerations for Cre8Team. Our platform serves as a hub where professionals from diverse industries collaborate, necessitating a design that allows personalized communication of project ideas. Equally significant was the emphasis on a straightforward application process, while providing adequate information about applicants.
To evoke feelings of reliability, respect, and professionalism in users, a carefully selected color palette featuring various shades of blue was incorporated. This sets the stage for the platform, enabling users to explore and engage with professional experiences seamlessly.
When it came to user testing, we had conducted four usability studies, with the goal of understanding how the user might interact with our product. The core features were tested, offering time afterward to interview each participant on their experiences and thoughts. This allowed us to implement changes before launch, to best fit the needs of the users. Below are some user feedback that we gathered:
- “It's overall easy to use, especially for someone who doesn’t know much about technology.”
- “I sometimes worry about the privacy of inputting so much personal information (during profile set-up) and wonder if it will show up publicly.”
- “Finding a project and applying was very simple and straightforward as it was obvious how to navigate through the website.”
We are currently hosting our app on Vercel. Vercel is a popular platform for deploying and hosting web applications and static websites. It provides a seamless and straightforward deployment process with features like automatic scaling, continuous deployment, and a global content delivery network (CDN) for optimal performance. Hosting the website on Vercel ensures that it is accessible to users worldwide with minimal latency and downtime.
Tech Stack Used
- Front end: Next.js, Material UI
- Back end: Firebase
- Tools: VS Code, Git, Github
While developing our website using Next.js, Material UI, and Firebase, we encountered several challenges that required thoughtful problem-solving and perseverance. Here are the main difficulties we faced:
- Responsive Design: One of the significant challenges was ensuring that the website looks and functions well on various devices and screen sizes. Material UI provides responsive components, but properly integrating them into the layout and handling complex responsive scenarios demands extra effort. A consistent and user-friendly experience across desktops, tablets, and mobile devices required thorough testing and adjustments.
- Implementing Search Functionality: Adding search functionality to a product can be complex, especially when working with a real-time database like Firebase. Designing an efficient search algorithm that returns relevant results in real time while considering database limitations, such as indexing and query performance, was a notable challenge.
- Connecting to Schema: Integrating Firebase's real-time database with the application's schema can be tricky. We faced difficulties in ensuring that the data stored in Firebase followed the schema requirements defined by the application. Handling updates and deletions consistently while maintaining data integrity proved to be a demanding task.
To overcome these challenges, we followed a systematic approach:
- Thorough Research and Planning: Before diving into the development process, we researched best practices for responsive design, search, and filtering. This helped us understand the potential pitfalls and plan the implementation accordingly.
- Utilizing Material UI's Responsive Components: We used Material UI's built-in responsive components and breakpoints to design a flexible and adaptive layout. By leveraging their Grid system and responsive styling, I ensured the website adapted gracefully to different screen sizes.
- Optimizing Search Algorithms: To enhance search and filter performance, we optimized database queries and utilized indexing features provided by Firebase. We also implemented caching mechanisms and debounce/throttle techniques to prevent unnecessary database calls and improve the overall user experience.
- Testing on Multiple Devices and Browsers: Regularly testing the website on various devices and browsers allowed me to identify and fix responsive issues. We used browser developer tools and responsive design testing tools to validate the appearance and functionality.
For Project Initiators
- Easily manage collaboration by receiving applicant notifications and initiating communication with suitable candidates.
For Project Seekers
- Easily filter projects by industry, role, and location.
- Seamlessly engage in real-time text, voice, and video communication with project initiators.
- Discover projects filtered by industry, skills, and location.
- Apply to projects that seek mentorship or guidance from experienced professionals.
- Apply to projects that align with their interests and availability.
Product Manager Learnings:
- How to lead a cross-functional team to build and launch a product from scratch within 8 weeks.
- How to prioritize key features and build a minimum viable product using the job-to-be-done, RICE methodologies.
- How to conduct user interviews and analyze research data to understand user pain points, formulate product strategy, and gather insights for prototype development.
- I learned what role the design process plays in a cross-functional team.
- Being adaptable is crucial for the product’s success.
- How to apply design feedback offered by team members.
- The balancing act of user needs, project scope, and technical restraints.
- I learned the importance of resilience in problem-solving, as tackling challenges in responsive design, search, and schema integration required a systematic and persistent mindset.
- Prioritizing user-centric design became evident while implementing responsive features, ensuring a seamless experience across different devices for higher user satisfaction
- Collaboration and feedback with peers enhanced the development process, fostering continuous learning and improvement.
- Rigorous testing and quality assurance on various devices and browsers were essential for delivering a high-quality website.
- I learned the value of comprehensive documentation and careful planning.
- Clear documentation aids in project management and allows for smoother collaboration with team members.
- Effective collaboration and communication with the front-end developer are crucial for successful project development.
- Understanding frontend requirements, providing clear API documentation, and offering support during frontend integration will contribute to a smoother development process.