This is the first of our new series highlighting projects made by Austin Coding Academy students. This month, we talked to Greg Devany about the app he created, BOGO by Zip, which helps users find coupons for local restaurants.
Before he joined the advanced class at Austin Coding Academy, Greg was a small business owner for 20+ years, but he always wanted to learn how to code. For this project, he drew on his past work experience to help solve a common problem.
Can you describe your project?
My project helps people find buy-one-get-one-free coupons for restaurants. Users can search by category and by current zip code. It was designed as a mobile app because the end user will probably be using it on the go, but it’s completely responsive up to a desktop view.
What problem or challenge does your project solve?
Everyone loves discounts, especially on food. But for small business owners, getting coupons into the right hands can be difficult and expensive.
With this app, not only is it free for a business to post their coupon, but it reaches their target market because it’s only visible to customers within that zip code, and it’s going to people who are actually looking for that coupon. That means no more mass mailings or spam to reach a target market. Also, a coupon doesn't have to have an expiration date; it can stay posted forever. The business owner can remove or change a coupon any time he/she wants to.
Who is the user for your project?
Business owners and the general public.
How did user experience factor into your finished project?
I believe the user experience should be as simple and clear as possible, and you have to dummy down the complexity to the lowest common denominator. If a 5 year old and my mother can use it with no problem, it’s a success!
How did your professors at ACA help guide you through completing the project?
I really appreciated that the professors at ACA were always there to help if I needed it, but they didn't hold our hands through the project. Jon introduced me to the 2 hour rule; if I couldn't figure it out on my own after 2 hours, then he would be glad to help. It's amazing how much you learn by researching the problem on your own, as opposed to someone just feeding the answer immediately. Whenever I couldn’t get a quick answer from Jon, Kevin was also available; together they created a great resource.
How has this project helped with your job search?
This project is the cornerstone to my resume. If a potential employer needs to see my knowledge and ability to create a full stack app with a modern SPA application, here it is: a fully functioning hosted website, and open source code to review.