Student Helps Unlock Friendships with Howard Hookup App

Testers Needed for Howard Hookup

What started as a senior class project has turned into an innovative social networking app for Howard students. Ade Heyward, a Systems and Computer Science student, has designed and coded the Howard Hookup app, which relies on “the power of proximity” to help students connect with one another on campus. The application is essentially a compatibility game that allows members to meet new people with similar interests on Howard University’s campus.

Heyward began working on the Howard Hookup, which works on Android phone, last semester as part of his senior project. “It was a learning experience,” he said. “I had to learn about the functions of the Android phone.”

Although the project was time-consuming, Heyward said because he likes programming, it was easy to stick with the problems until his project was completed. “I do enjoy coding, and a lot of coding was involved. But I enjoy doing it. If you are doing something fun, it’s not too much like work.”

The app was originally designed to help students link up and connect for different events during homecoming. But in a brainstorming session with members of the Social Media Club in the School of Communications, it was decided that Howard Hookup could help create friendships throughout the school year. He also consulted with the Psychology Department to fine tune the questions that users would have to answer.

“Depending on how questions are written,” said Dr. Todd Shurn, Systems and Computer Science professor and advisor for Heyward’s project, “the app could be used to find folks nearby interested in soccer, cycling, basketball, community service, etc.”

Heyward said the collaborations showed him how powerful it can be to work with other disciplines to solve problems. He said he learned, “I’m going to have to reach out to other disciplines for their skills and expertise and that I can’t do it all alone.”

The Groton, Conn., resident said even though his father and two of his brothers have computer science backgrounds, he wasn’t always sure that he would become a computer science major because he also enjoyed writing. Ultimately, he found that he preferred the solid structure and certainty that he got from programming.

It shows in his work on the Howard Hookup. In the app, users can “create custom questions that filter the kind of people you want to meet with,” Heyward said.  The app features a location tracking function that allows users to see where other users are. To address privacy concerns, Heyward also developed a “hide” feature that turns the tracking on and off.

Right now the Howard Hookup is in a beta phase and looking for students to help test it. “It has not yet launched,” Shurn said. “We are seeking HU students to give feedback. We will improve, then launch,” he said.

After this project, Ade said that he will try his hand at creating other apps and learn how to make apps for iPhone as well.  He said he is also interested in on the cutting edge of technology, such as artificial intelligence. He especially likes the creative projects being developed at Google. “They are innovating in everything.”

How to become a beta tester

To become a beta tester for the app, visit www.howardhookup.com on an Android phone to create an account as a tester. Download and install the app. Once the app is downloaded an account is created and a user can create a basic profile. That profile appears on a map that tracks other users who appear in red pins (female) or blue pins (male). Users can view their compatibility. To link up and message someone, users have to “unlock” another a series of questions. Once unlocked, they can exchange instant messages and hopefully start a great relationship.