Salty is intended to be a kitschy, Point Break obsessed application that serves as a single space for getting information (e.g. weather, location map, surf potential, nearby points of interest, restaurants, etc.) about a beach locale. A la Kook of the Day, Salty utilizes surf slang to create a user experience that is fun and loose, and hopefully induces laughter and joy.
The target audience for Salty is quite broad (who doesn’t love a trip to the beach?) and is primarily for outdoor enthusiasts between the ages of 18-49 in the United States. Since the app provides information such as nearby hiking trails and whether the beach is a solid surf locale, the product is geared more towards an audience that is physically active. The initial release will be specific to beaches on the West Coast, so that also focuses on a regional target audience to start, however the app could grow upon success to include beaches in different geographic regions of the U.S. and beyond.
The graphical user interface for Salty is very clean and influenced by other popular apps like AllTrails (with the snapshot/General Data at the top), Gmail (with its clean UI and floating action buttons), and Instagram. The back button matches what’s on nearly every app; the Write a Review button matches the Compose button in Gmail, and the Beach Tiles for navigating to a specific Beach Page matches the UI on AllTrails, Yelp, DoorDash, and countless other apps. Having these familiar UI features will hopefully make the app an immediately comfortable space for new users. The use of emojis is also obviously popular, familiar, and fun, so seeing these in buttons and for review ratings will, ideally, make users feel laidback.
Here you can see an iPhone Simulator displaying Salty upon app open (as well as course documentation and some code snippets). Tooltips are highlighted in this screenshot as they were a later feature addition to buttons in order to eliminate any possible confusion for new users and enable those on e-readers to access the app more readily:
Should a user be confused, they can navigate to the Tutorial Page with the click of a button to get an app walk-through to ease their entry into living Salty:
After a user has picked a vibe from the Main Menu, like surfing, they can click a button to navigate to that Category Page where they will see the different beach options that offer what they’re seeking:
From any Category Page, a user can click on a Beach Tile to learn more about that beach, including availability of camping, restaurants, parking, and restrooms as well as current weather conditions and reviews from recent visitors:
Code for the project is primarily written in Dart and utilizes the Flutter SDK for cross-platform mobile development. Initial iterations of the app make use of microservices designed by fellow Oregon State University students and provide map and weather services to Salty via REST API using a request/response style communication pipe. Salty is by no means finished and I intend to continue iterating on the application to make improvements to the code base, GUI, and include more functionalities.
To view the full, ever-evolving project code, visit the Salty GitHub repository. Hopefully this project will one day be available in an app store near you, but until then you can get a sense of how Salty works from the short, embarrassing tutorial video on YouTube that also plays on the Tutorial Page of Salty or watch the extended app walk-through from the version 1 alpha release here.
Vaya con dios, y’all!