2nd October 2020

Freshers online: The socialising app built for students by students

Meet KB: an online way for students to socialise without the need for physical freshers events
Freshers online: The socialising app built for students by students
Photo: The Mancunion

This year the University of Manchester Computer Science Society (UniCS) is developing a new platform to provide a safe, virtual space for freshers to network and socialise with each other. So, meet ‘KB’.

Named after the beloved Kilburn building the website will provide a service similar to speed dating. Users will jump between five-minute video calls or voice chats with random users to try and mimic the social aspect of freshers events.

Zeynep Tezduyar, the UniCS co-chair, told The Mancunion that the lack of communication and socialising between students was the main driving factor for creating the application.

“It was a rough start as we didn’t have any sponsors for the society yet. So we took a risk on starting such a big project,” he explained. “Assembling a team and finding sponsors was challenging [because] many people didn’t answer their emails.”

With the help of Diana Irimia, the idea was created and got traction earlier this year in July so they could have a finished product come freshers week in September.

Developing the Application

“The development process started as soon as we assembled the team” head of the development team Amish Shah said. The team reused components from previous projects to help speed up the process.

The project involved incoming second-year students who had varying knowledge in web development. The team was split into web page designers and servers constructors.

The tasks were assigned to each user using the code-sharing website GitHub. Where all the members can view each others code, comment and fix any ongoing problems. The collaborative effort made for efficient and thorough work from the whole team.

The project gave students the opportunity to work on new skills, use trending technologies and learn about professional coding practices.

KB home pagekb home page

How it works

Students register to the website using their university email address. They upload a profile picture and specify the year of study and course. They can then join UniCS hosted events on Discord and join a networking queue where they are matched with a random person to chat with, or video call.

Testing and Launching

Team developers and volunteers tested the application last weekend, prior to the official launch on Monday the 28th.

video call for kb
Official launch of KB @ UniCS

It’s great to see students overcome obstacles to keep up the social side of coming to university. KB is an innovation that could help maintain such a vital aspect of the university.

Any and all students can get involved by heading over the KB website.

To find out more about KB or other projects and events run by UniCS you can follow them across social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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