Znak Politechniki Warszawskiej

Spontap – The Only Such Application in the World

Five students – two from the Warsaw University of Technology, and three from the Warsaw School of Economics – have created an application that allows people to easily and quickly learn about interesting events organized nearby. Spontap is already being used by approximately 5-6 thousand citizens of a dozen of Polish cities, and by 300-400 event organizers, and the authors have been receiving suggestions that the idea warrants an international release.

Spontap is a joint project created by Marcin Jeleński and Robert Sobolewski, students of the Warsaw University of Technology, and by Adam Czarnocki, Piotr Sucharski, and Michał Tomczak – students of the Warsaw School of Economics. They have developed the application for over 2.5 years. According to the first plans, it was supposed to help friends make appointments with each other – to make it so nobody forgets when and where they should arrive. After two years, in autumn 2015, the developers went to the London School of Economics to test their product. The idea was to check how Spontap fares among students who often organize events and like to go out together. “It turned out that what we proposed wasn’t enough”, says Robert Sobolewski, student of technical physics (at the Faculty of Physics of the Warsaw University of Technology) and IT (at the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology).

Spontap Is Like a Pokemon

Since creating events just for friends didn’t pan out, the authors of the application decided to expand its features“. We noticed that we often don’t want to go out, e.g. on Friday evenings, because we simply don’t know what to do, and even if we decide to go and gather a pack of friends, we have a problem with choosing a spot”, says Robert Sobolewski. Thus an idea arose for Spontap to solve this issue, to make it available not only to private event organizers or participants, but also to restaurants, clubs, pubs, cinemas, cultural centres, theatres... “Adding places made everything gain momentum”, says Marcin Jeleński, IT student at the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology of the WUT. “At that point we substantially redesigned the application. It took a lot of effort to make everything work smoothly, to enable proper searching for events by categories and displaying interesting ones to the user”.

Robert Sobolewski compares the development of the application to the evolution of Pokemons – creatures invented in Japan, which have been recently living a second life due to Pokemon Go: “Spontap was like Charmander, good, but it didn’t kindle its own fire yet. Now it looks more like Charizard”.

Better Than Facebook

Spontap is free, both for people who want to observe interesting events in the area, and for organizers. The application is available for iOS and Android devices.

During registration we either pick our location or it’s obtained automatically. We also indicate our interests. Then we receive proposition of places. Therefore, we will receive information about all events organized there. It’s one of the biggest advantages that Spontap has over Facebook. “Facebook shows events, but it puts them between photos and posts of our friends, it’s more like advertising than proposals”, explains Robert Sobolewski. “We show our users exactly what they want and are interested in. Nothing will get lost, drowned in the sea of other content”. “Big events are well promoted on Facebook, but small ones are not, because Facebook pushes them lower”, Marcin Jeleński added. “I often learned about many interesting events after they had already passed”.

Spontap also allows, in contrast to Facebook, to create events using a phone. “It’s four taps and entering a description and an hour, choosing friends, adding a photo and location, and using a friendly interface at that”, says Robert Sobolewski.

How Does It Work?

Spontap is already being compared to Tinder – the dating app that allows you to meet people in the area. Everything due to a similar mechanism. “What we have in common with Tinder are cards”, Robert Sobolewski explains. “Proposed events appear in this way on the screen. If we are interested in a given event, we swipe the card right, if not – left. Our selected offers are saved to the calendar and sorted chronologically.

The application, following the authors’ first idea, also allows creating private events, for friends only. They appear in the calendar before all other items.

The students have also made it so that we don’t forget events we want to attend. “On the date of the event we receive a notification at 7 AM, a silent one, so it doesn’t wake us up”, Marcin Jeleński explains. “We decided that it’s the best time because people wake up at about 7, or will wake up and begin planning their day”.

Spontap enables us to check maps and our friends attending a given event, as well as to observe comments and share events on our wall. And that’s not all of its features. “If we don’t plan on going anywhere soon, we can set it so that it displays only events starting from a given date”, says Robert Sobolewski.

People who wish to join Spontap as organizers must fill out the form at the website. In this way, you register a special account. You may add your events after it’s approved by the application’s creators. Importing events from Facebook is a huge convenience. Spontap displays all changes and updates published on Facebook.

Have Something of Ours

Spontap has officially launched on 18 April 2016. Robert Sobolewski handled the iOS version, while Marcin Jeleński prepared the Android one. Both jointly emphasize that two programmers working on such a complicated project is really not enough. And it’s just a part of tasks that had to be done in order to create the application and to advertise it to potential users. The visual side was equally important, as well as marketing and media relationships. “We always wanted to have something of ours and to work by ourselves”, says Robert Sobolewski. “It’s not like we are lazy and would like to get up at 2 PM, we just wanted to do something cool, something that we have control over. We wanted to touch the entire creation process, not just one stage, as is often the case in companies”.

According to the Spontap’s creators, there is no event application in the world that’s so pleasant to use.

Both students are so much committed to the project that, when faced with the possibility of choosing subjects at the University, they decided to pick ones that would prove the most useful when working on Spontap.

Even though the application is already pretty popular, they plan further refinement of the project. “We want events presented to users in the first place even more interesting”, Marcin Jeleński states. “We want to display them in a better fashion, using information about similar events and users with similar interests”.

The creators of Spontap encourage people to submit suggestions for changes that could be introduced to the application, and even to look for bugs. And everything because they want their idea to be helpful to as many people as possible.

 

Agnieszka Kapela

Office for Promotion and Information