TAR UC Student’s Innovative App Wins Regional PrizeJuly 5, 2021 | Achievement News
The tourism sector throughout the world has been hit hard by the pandemic since last year with the closure of international borders and lockdowns. With that in mind, Christine Choo Wan Teng, a TAR UC Penang Branch Campus student studying the Bachelor of Information Technology (Hons) in Internet Technology, together with her father, Mr Alvin Choo, created the app, “Wanderer”, which won the 3rd prize in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (‘APEC’) App Challenge 2021. They are the only Malaysian team to emerge among the top five in the challenge. The app “Wanderer” is designed to offer a safer shopping experience for the public amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The app challenge, which was held virtually from 14 May 2021 to 5 June 2021, attracted 170 participants from 13 APEC member economies.
On the inspiration behind this app, Christine said: “We looked into the travelling problems. Many are too afraid to travel. This is known as travel anxiety. Then we asked ourselves, “Why not we create an app that can provide information on how overcrowded an area is to the users? Wouldn't the users feel safer if they know there are not many people there?" she said.
Challenge required software developers and designers from across the region to In the wake of the current challenges caused by the pandemic, the fifth edition of the APEC App
build new mobile and web tools that could help spur the revival of the tourism
sector and promote a safe travel environment.
Thus, they came up with the app, “Wanderer”, to encourage people to move again by providing more information and online merchandise features where they no longer have to queue up at the gift shop. The app is bundled with several useful features, namely live people counter, visitation timer, barcode tickets and online merchandise store.
“The first challenge I faced in creating the app was using programming language for coding. It was not something I had learnt before, but yet I took up the challenge. I went through the fundamentals of the language and I was able to grasp the language. The second hurdle that I faced would be having to think of a good idea for the application. We almost went ahead with a commonly used idea, a simple marketplace app that allows users to buy tickets. There are many applications out there that provide such features, such as Klook. Halfway through developing the app, my dad and I sat down to discuss and realised that it was not a good idea. I did some research on human tourism anxiety and finally thought of developing this idea,” she said.
This lass who hails from SMK Convent Green Lane, Penang, has much to be thankful to TAR UC for her achievement. “I am thankful for the brilliant lecturers who taught us well. They have helped me in strengthening my computer science knowledge and encouraging me to think out of the box and implement what I have learnt,” she enthused. “Thanks to my lecturer's effective teaching, I finally understood coding. Understanding coding has definitely changed how I view the world. What used to be impossible to me now seems possible!” she continued.
As for the development of the app itself going forward, Christine said that they will probably refine it so that it can provide further assistance to the merchants to increase their sales. “For the submission, we focused more on functionality and had little time for ui/ux design. So, for now we will be trying to improve the overall interface design first to make it user-friendly. Then, we will approach a few merchants for a test run,” she explained.