“BookBarter” — because we all know that sharing is caring, especially when it comes to books.

This project was carried out as part of the TechLabs “Digital Shaper Program” in Münster (winter term 2020/21).

Abstract

Everyone who likes to read knows the problem that there are always too many or too few books at home. Reading a book once is like plastic cutlery: no longer up-to-date for us!

The idea

Reading books has been booming again since the Pandemic. We would like to network bookworms with one another so that they can easily find new supplies. We want to make swapping and lending books accessible, easy and comprehensible for everyone, both in private circles of friends and in a public community. This means that users no longer need to worry about their own favorite book being loaned to others, because we keep a record of it! In addition, the difficult use of the library due to the pandemic is given a convenient alternative. We bring the library to your home office and the books can be exchanged privately, for example contactlessly.

Team setup

The two areas of web development — front- and backend — were essential for the realization of this project. Our team consists of three front-end developers, Chris, Janina and Lena, and two backend developers, Johannes and Julius. Since Chris and Lena already learned UX Design in the last Techlabs semester and Johannes was already involved in the Data Science Track in the last semester, we were able to fall back on this knowledge. We usually met online once a week to record the work status, clarify problems and assign new tasks. Sometimes we also worked specifically on the code during the meetings and were able to share our successes together. In the last few weeks of the project phase we met more often to move the project forward. Our mentor Johannes was almost always present at our meetings. He supported us with great commitment and expertise and was available to us all the time.

Project work

At the beginning we tried to develop a project concept together that appealed to us all equally. We used tools like Notion and Miro to communicate well with each other. In the second step, we started a survey at Typeform to filter, with the help of others, what really matters to the users. After evaluating the survey, we focused on separating necessary features from not absolutely necessary features and then turned them into goodies. Some of them, such as the chat photo upload function, could still be implemented in the end.The front- and the back-end have constantly reacted and always coordinated with each other. Sometimes the back-end structure was already there and the front-end had to be waited for.

Learnings

In the beginning, our priority was to develop a simple structure for our web app and to get a simple website up and running. One of the biggest challenges and a permanent question mark was to link the front and back end. Fortunately and with the great help of Johannes we managed to connect it at the end. And as with any project work, one thing that you learn again and again — good time management and realistic expectations are everything. This worked out well for us because we were aware of this from the start, but also because some team members were able to give full throttle again at the end.

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the whole TechLabs team, especially our mentor, Johannes Stricker, for this great journey!

The team

Johannes Kellers Web Development

Mentor

Johannes Stricker

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