A mobile app developer has to consider many factors, such as who the users are, how to meet technical requirements, and how to market to a global audience. The IEEE madC mobile app competition has added one more obstacle to the list: build an app that meets the IEEE’s mission of benefiting humanity.
MadC stands for mobile app development competition. The contest, which has been held for three years now, takes places in multiple stages. It begins with mobile app development training by student ambassadors and IT professionals, then ideation in which participants decide what the application will accomplish, and finally development. The entire process can take six to eight months from start to finish.
The apps are judged by a group of experts. The criteria are focused on the user interface design, user experience, overall usefulness, as well as availability. Availability means how many people the application reaches. If an app is built for several mobile platforms like iOS, Android, and Windows, there is more potential to reach a wider audience. Another factor is if the app is available in more than one language.
The challenge got its start in 2013 when several IEEE student members from the IEEE student branch in Osijek, Croatia, came up with the idea for the competition. Last year, 133 ideas were submitted, and they were an interesting bunch.
Munch, for example, helps individuals improve their awareness of calorie intake along with other nutrients. EyeTyping, allows users to input text into a mobile device using only the movements of their eyes. This is especially useful to assist people with ALS or paralysis. Of the ideas submitted, 44 have been turned into working apps, which are now available in the Apple App Store, Google Play, and Microsoft app store.
IEEE Student Member Sangram Chawan, who is studying computer engineering at Pune University, in India, won the competition in 2015. His IEEE Connected Learning app brings together IEEE student members to help them publish their first research article. It provides easy access to various IEEE resources, including IEEE Collabratec, the IEEE Xplore Digital Library, and IEEE Spectrum to help gather resources and work together.
“Think of it as if you’re building your own home,” Chawan says. “What do you need? How will you do it? The most important thing to keep in mind is usability; the look and feel.”
Sarang Shaikh is an IEEE member and the treasurer for the IEEE Karachi Section, in Pakistan. He is the public visiblilty and marketing lead for IEEEmadC. He is also the founder of Humans of IEEE.