Living on one campus with over 8,000 undergraduate students, it’s almost inevitable to hear about exciting local events on a daily basis, whether it be talks, club meetings or parties. Perhaps the only occurrence more common is missing said events. Fortunately, two new homegrown apps are beginning to change how students approach events on campus and will hopefully bring an end to the stress involved in planning out one’s day. Both apps, SwoopIn and NoMo, present users with a visual representation of local happenings, and they have great potential for attracting a diverse user base. Here’s an analysis of their pluses and minuses so you can decide for yourself their effectiveness.
SwoopIn has amassed around 400 downloads from 23 different schools, between both iOS and Android markets. Nevertheless, as they are based out of Notre Dame, the South Bend area has been the main focus of downloads and events. SwoopIn has been involved in sponsoring events on campus such as Carroll and Badin Hall’s Lakeside festival and last weekend’s Dance-a-Thon. Come finals week, SwoopIn will also be delivering care packages to those who post their study spots on the app. For a social aspect, SwoopIn users can comment on events, thereby connecting their registered names with their interests and concerns about the events.
NoMo has seen success with downloads, collecting around 720 in just one week after launching on April 8. On the date of their launch party, NoMo was able to check in 250 people using their app to display their location. NoMo has also seen exposure through the popular blogging platform Her Campus. For their social component, NoMo has integrated into their app the ability to invite contacts to events and provide a list of all published locations of registered contacts.
With an impressive amount of downloads and the integration of contacts, NoMo has the leg up in networking. Though SwoopIn has been very active on campus, without the ability of connecting with friends it is very hard to properly organize events. However, because SwoopIn offers both Android and iOS markets, it’s a very close call.
SwoopIn’s event creation is a three-step process. First, you click and hold on the screen to select the location of your event. This opens up a menu asking for further information including the title, time and description. Two other tags are available for a created event: “category” adds a colored label that indicates whether you’re hosting a sports, social or school-based event, and “Location Hint” allows for specificity for the map location, including room or apartment number.
NoMo has a longer but more streamlined process. Users click a plus sign to initiate event creation, which brings up a screen where one must search for locations based on address or description, such as dorm name. This location needs to be approved, to make sure it is the place you meant, and then an “alternate name” can be entered, paralleling the location hint in SwoopIn. Finally, you invite friends and create the event.
In theory, NoMo’s process should be a lot more straightforward and accessible. However, SwoopIn offers a much simpler location selection system, and then it displays all of the five fields necessary to create an event. Also, NoMo requires a minimum of five friends to start an event, which makes sense marketing-wise, but starting an event open to the whole school should not need a critical mass to be put up. SwoopIn still needs to develop friend integration, but NoMo’s friend function is more of a hassle at this point.
On the surface, SwoopIn displays all events in the area, color coded by the category tag mentioned earlier and the number events at each location. Clicking on an event brings up a short overview, including title, duration, location, host and time of creation. Pulling up this tab uncovers further info, allowing the user to RSVP, or “watch,” and access a comment section on the event. At the very bottom of the screen, a time slide function allows users to curtail events based on timing.
Upon opening the NoMo app, users are greeted with a map peppered with purple flags on the top half of the screen. Below, a list of events appears, clearly labeled with the amount of both friends and total attendees. One may also tap the friends tab in order to see which friends have published location, and where. Tapping a flags bring the user to a page displaying total attendees and which specific friends are currently attending.
NoMo shines in its ability to quickly display number of attendees, but for a busy college student, the app does not display enough information to be effective. Furthermore, once one has created an event for NoMo, the event can’t be deleted and users can only RSVP to one event a time. Lastly, NoMo does not even have an event time capability, which makes the writers question how it is an event app in the first place. SwoopIn’s ability to clearly display all relevant information, including the time of the event, gives it the clear advantage in user interface.
The topics NoMo focuses on have the upper hand in what an event app should look like. When I open my event app, I want to see what’s going on around me, where people will be and what my friends are doing. As of yet, these ideas have only been poorly integrated into NoMo. The overall interface of NoMo does not offer enough information about the details of available events — not even the time at which they are taking place. NoMo is an app marketed at those living in the now; however, with a hectic college schedules, students want to be able to know what events are happening later. This requires an RSVP function that does not only apply for the next 24 hours, but can remind users of events happening days or weeks ahead.
With a clear, easy to understand interface, SwoopIn shines in its allowance to schedule ahead and have a distinct idea of what’s to come. Even better, the tap and create function allows for a more informal yet practical feel. You may wish to simply get a few friends together to play pickup football in the field behind your dorm: it tremendously easier with SwoopIn. Nevertheless, it still contains limitations. The friend function, pioneered by NoMo, is necessary for a social app. We would also like to see an option to create “private” events, for planning of smaller get togethers where maybe the entire campus is not invited.