GoM is a website that targets at poor international students in Metro service area in LA County. With GoM, the students can search and communicate Dining, Housing and Recreational information in Metro service area. Our site is unique to other websites that provides similar info since GoM particularly targets at international college students who are not rich and more public-transit dependent. We provide some functions like “time estimation for next bus” or “available Metro bus stops within 1 mile radius from location.” The recreational information attracts the target users to visit our site.
Lastly, the website includes demographic info such as ethnicity, age and median income around the site chosen to help the students to find their housing in their preferred areas because most of the international students want to live around ethnic community of their origin for the convenience. Although our target users are poor international student, other public users are welcome to use our website to find the info that they need. Easy access to trip planner will promote the public transportation usage rather than solo driving and eventually, benefit the community as a whole.
User Friendly Interface
The interface of the website is very simple and user friendly. There are three steps to satisfy the user’s need: 1) Choose school 2) Choose metro line around the chosen campus 3) Choose the functions to find dining, housing and recreational info around the campus.
1) School: The users can choose the universities and colleges of their interest. The “bear” icon shows up on the location and when the user clicks on the icon, a website link for the school appears. The user can visit the link to learn more about the school.
2) Metro: Under the menu “Metro,” the user can find available Metro bus lines around the campus of their choice (from step 1). In this case, the campus chosen is UCLA and available Metro bus lines include bus 2, bus 20, bus 305, bus 720 and bus 761. The user can toggle different bus lines by checking the boxes. Each bus stop is shown with “bus” icon and when the user clicks on a bus stop icon, the time estimation for next bus at that particular bus stop shows in a pop up window.
3) Food: The user can check the boxes to choose different food types and it will activate Yelp API. The location of restaurants, cafe, bars, etc. will show as icons and when the user clicks on certain location, more information is given in a info window.
5) Rent: The users can add their own renting information by click on the link that says “Fill in a form and map your place now.” They can also view the Metro bus stops within 1 mile radius from certain site of their choice. The demographic layer generated by ArcGIS was added to the website. By clicking anywhere on the map, the user can access the demographic info such as race and median age of the neighborhood. Since most of the international students prefer to live around the ethnic community of their origin for convenience, we believe that the map layer we added will help the student to make decision as to where they want to live while they attend school. We also added the link of “Los Angeles Times Mapping LA,” which provides profile, crime rate, school info and other comments about the site that student chooses.
6) Misc.: Last menu includes “help” page with tutorial video clip and “about us,” the information about development team.
All of our team members fulfilled their roles in this project. Jinghua was a chief web designer and Joy supported the web design. Lulu acted as a main coder who consolidated the partial works that were submitted by other team members. Mingzhe was an organizer who oversaw the project.
Improvements in the Future:
If we were given more time, we would add another function under “Rent” menu that automatically organize the housing info according to rent rate. In addition, we will try to embed the information that is accessible through “Los Angeles Times Mapping L.A” onto our website rather than just providing the link.