Student app design group wants to change how you Parti


Photo Credit: Mel Westfall | Daily Texan Staff

Students from a UT Mobile News App Design class are producing an iOS app called Parti: a new platform to plan and execute successful parties and events. Ethan Elkins, a journalism senior and head of social marketing for the project, said that Parti will be released on the Apple App Store in early April.

“If we can implement everything, it’s going to be really good,” Elkins said. “I’m confident that Parti will make it to the App Store.”

The Parti team is creating the app as an assignment for a cross disciplinary course for journalism and computer science students taught by Robert Quigley, a senior lecturer in the Moody College of Communication. Elkins said the idea for a party app came from difficulties he endured trying to plan an event on Facebook.

“I put together an event on Facebook events and it just wasn’t very good,” Elkins said. “I don’t feel like you get a good idea of who’s actually coming from Facebook events. There’s also a lot of things that aren’t accounted for on Facebook events.”

Features of the app include profiles with personalized preferences for food, drinks and music that a host could use to plan the party. Computer science seniors and co-heads of programming Liliana Terry and Arjun Gopisetty said the app would also maximize the party experience by making use of a geofence to count attendance and provide automatic information, such as location and gate codes, to guests.

“Geofence is what we’re using to basically set a digital border around where the party is,” Terry said. “When people come you can see who’s at the party and who’s not.”

“The idea is that you walk into the geofence and you get a phone number, gate code or any other information the host would want you to know,” Gopisetty said.

The team, comprised of journalism and computer science students, said they learn a lot from each other. Terry said she admired her teammates for their ability to publicize the project.

“I think they’re really good at putting themselves out there,” Terry said. “They’re really confident when it comes to advertising. I’m very appreciative of them.”

Brooke Decker, journalism senior and the team’s head of public relations, said she’s excited to learn more about the technology aspect of the project.

“There’s two different prerequisite courses we could take for this class, and I feel like we only skimmed the surface,” Decker said. “I’m definitely looking forward to learning from Liliana and Arjun to see how they make these things work.”

Decker added that the team has begun growing their social media presence to share the app to a larger audience.

“We’ve also started advertising more,” Decker said. “Our handle on all social media platforms is ‘the Parti app.’ We plan to write press releases, we’ve designed a logo and we’re making commercials. It’s really exciting.”

Quigley said that a number of apps produced in the class are successful, and he thinks Parti has a good chance of doing well.

“We’re on our fifth or sixth year of this class, and there’s a decent number of apps from our class that are out there now,” Quigley said. “The students are working hard so I expect good things. I don’t have a lot of complaints.”

The class will host an event called Demo Day on April 28 after the apps have been sent to the App Store. In the meantime, the Parti team is using surveys to preview the preferences of their future users.

“We’re ready to start sharing this (Parti) with the world,” Decker said.