News

Student app spreads to SU campus, focuses on social interaction

To get the latest updates on what’s going on around them, students have to check several social media applications, including Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Instagram.

Aidan Cunniffe and Nate Frechette wanted to change that, so the two created Droppin, an app that focuses on social interaction.

Cunniffe, an undeclared freshman in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management, and Frechette, a senior business management major at Le Moyne College, released the app last week at Le Moyne, where it reached 10 percent of the student body within five days. The app went live this week at Syracuse University.

The app allows users to write messages and take photos while in their respective geographic locations so others can discover and interact with them. With the app, students are able to see what’s going on around campus at any given time from any given person — even if they don’t know each other, Cunniffe said.

Cunniffe describes the app as “one giant Twitter feed,” but said what sets the app apart is that it allows users to follow people nearby, not just their friends.

“People will realize that the things that are the most relevant to you are the things that are going on around you,” he said.

Keisuke Inoue, a doctoral candidate in the School of Information Studies who designs his own apps, said he believes Droppin has the potential to be successful and profitable. Inoue said he was impressed by the students’ ambition and ability.

“Designing mobile apps can be difficult. It comes with various requirements that are unique to the mobile environment — limited screen size, limited user interactions,” he said. “Designing a simple and intuitive user interface is definitely a big part of developing a successful app.”

Cunniffe and Frechette said their work with Droppin isn’t complete, and they plan to continue adapting it for a better user experience.

The two first started to develop the app in mid-February and released it about a month later. It took an uncharacteristically short amount of time for the app to become available on the Apple iTunes store, Cunniffe said.

The app was first released at Le Moyne because Frechette, who plays on the lacrosse team there, spread the app through his teammates, Cunniffe said.

But Frechette’s teammates were using an earlier version of the app. Before it was released and spread through the SU campus, certain features and updates were added to the app, Cunniffe said.

The app has already gone global, Cunniffe said, with people using the app in places such as California, Paris and Saudi Arabia.

“You can search anywhere in the entire world, can check in anywhere in the world and see anything in the entire world,” he said.

Hannah Dorfman, a senior information management and technology and marketing major, recently downloaded Droppin and said she is a fan.

“The user interface is great —it’s simple. It reminds me of Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare,” she said. “I also think it’s cool to know about events on campus, and Droppin has the potential to do that.”

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