Here's How and Why We Created the Hashgeist.io Installation for FITC Amsterdam
We're very happy to be working on the official installation for FITC Amsterdam, to be launched on February 23-24th at the annual creativity and technology event.
We are really excited about this project and FITC Amsterdam because of the opportunity to explore the intersection of design and technology with a social web app in a live-event setting.
Our app is still a work in progress and we're hoping to roll-out a mobile version in future. We look forward to launching the beta version of the web app and installation.
Hashgeist.io is an interactive web app that encourages FITC Amsterdam attendees to join a conversation about the conference topics, share their insights on the talks, and answer questions posed by the app, shown on a large screen. The app will be a visual portrait that highlights the zeitgeist at the conference while showing gifs that reflect the contents from the tweets. Engagement with the app will be triggered by attendees tweeting to the #Hashgeist and #FITCAmsterdam hashtags.
There is great potential for the installation to become a focal point for FITC attendees when they view the live wall in the exhibitor area, and we hope that people who can’t attend the conference will have fun viewing the web app. The installation will be a random conversation with a beautiful and interesting visual element in the form of often-times cliche gifs that all internet fans can laugh at!
Here is a sample of the questions that will be seen on the web app and the @Hashgeist twitter account:
How does your relationship with technology impact your outlook on the human experience?
How do you explore new horizons in art and technology within your work?
What tips can you share with #FITCAmsterdam attendees about work productivity?
With a small part-time team including a project manager, designer and two developers, we brought the app from concept to life in a few short weeks. Now, after gathering feedback from a small group of users, we are further iterating the app for its FITC launch next week.
To create the app we used a variety of front-end technologies, including ReactJS, Flux, HTML, Sass and Bourbon. On the back-end we used koa.js, and MongoDB. The app watches Twitter for specific hashtags, fetches all related tweets, and sends the content of each tweet to giphy.com. Giphy.com sends back a list of (mostly) contextually relevant gifs to give visual life to the concepts found in the tweets. The app then displays all the tweets and gifs. Every 10 seconds the list of tweets gets refreshed and every 30 minutes the question gets updated. We are storing all of the tweet data in a database, so in a future version we visualize broader patterns of information over longer periods of time.
To encourage participation we will randomly selected participants using the Hashgeist installation at FITC Amsterdam, and invite them to the rangle.io booth between conference sessions to claim a unique tech gadget prize.
Hashgeist Demo and Feedback
We recently did a demo of Hashgeist during the Agile Experience Design Meetup at our office here in Toronto. The feedback was great, leading us to change the font sizes on the app and make the questions more direct.
An Open Source Future
At rangle.io, our business is based on helping companies build solutions on open source foundations. As a result, whenever we develop any software potentially useful to others, our preference is to open source it with an MIT license. We hope that Hashgeist will evolve to that point, and be used at many future events by both us and others. To that end, Hashgeist will be released on GitHub at a later date. Watch our blog for more news about Hashgeist to come!