Press Release: Introducing Polaris – Kevin

WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania — January 20, 2017 — The Polaris Team today announced Polaris, a revolutionary departure management system designed specifically for the Weekend Program at Westtown School. Polaris replaces the current SignUpGenius®, an event organizer, and offers a responsive design, Google® integration, Alchemy℠, manageability optimizations, data analytics along with many other features.

A Fresh New Look
Polaris introduces an intuitive and responsive design. Users are only presented with the most important information once they log in to their accounts. On the home screen, they are able to sign up for a trip with just a click of the button. And thanks to the use of AJAX (asynchronous JavaScript and XML), sign-up requests will be confirmed immediately. With AJAX, Polaris refreshes itself automatically and always displays the latest contents to the users without their need of reloading the web page. The result is a user experience that is immersive and uninterrupted.

Guided by the responsive design principle, Polaris intelligently adapts to different screen sizes, from mobile to desktop. On mobile devices, Polaris’ responsiveness resembles that of a native mobile app. On desktops, Polaris takes full advantage of the large screens and shows additional information including routes to the destinations on Google® Maps.

Google® Integration
The new system is powered by Google® APIs. Starting with Google® Sign-In, users are able to log in to their accounts with just one click on trusted devices. And because the sign-in requests are handled directly by Google®, login credentials are never exposed to Polaris. This adds another layer of security to the system.

Similar to Resort, Polaris utilizes the Calendar API which enables it to add, modify, and delete trips on users’ Google® Calendar. Additionally, the powerful Maps API allows Polaris to display routes to destinations and even estimate return time of trips.

Alchemy℠
Polaris ships with Alchemy℠, a feature designed to protect the integrity of the system while providing increased chances for users to get on the trips they signed-up for.

The most important component of Alchemy℠ is wait lists. Each trip contains two lists: a departure list and a wait list. Following the “first-come, first-served” policy, sign-ups are first added to the departure list and then to the wait list when the departure list is full. If a space in the departure list becomes available, a user in the wait list will be moved up to the departure list. The powerful algorithms of Alchemy℠ also prevent a user from signing up for trips with overlapping time intervals.

Additionally, Alchemy℠ also:

  • keeps trips inaccessible until they are published.
  • prevents users from signing up for others by assigning unique tokens through the Google® Sign-In API.

Built for Manageability

Manageability is the most demanded feature of the Weekend Program. Thus, the entire system has been built from the ground up with manageability in mind. Polaris comes with an administrator portal, which essentially allows the weekend coordinators to manage the entire database through a graphical user interface. Backed by an industry leading database, Polaris provides recommendations based on the popularity of previous trips through analytics and autocompletes new entries as the administrator creates new events.

Polaris also includes a separate interface designed for the duty crew members who are responsible for individual trips. The interface allows them to easily take attendance and complete electronic transportation forms.

About the Weekend Program
The Weekend Program at Westtown School is created to enrich the residential life of Westtown students with activities including but not limited to Starbucks™ runs, open dorms, Ultimate Frisbee® games, and trips to shopping malls.

Our Team
Eric Kim
Kevin Wang

Special Thanks
Maddie Roberts
Miguel Montoya Delgado
Elliot Kim
Yanwen Xu

Press Contact:
Kevin Wang ’18
Head, The Polaris Team
kevin.wang@westtown.edu

Works Cited

Night Sky Stars. ScienceBlogs, http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/files/2013/04/night-sky-stars.jpeg, scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/files/2013/04/night-sky-stars.jpeg. Accessed 11 Dec. 2016.

Westtown School: Weekends. Westtown School, http://www.westtown.edu/page.cfm?p=1000117. Accessed 11 Dec. 2016.


Note

  1. Company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

7 thoughts on “Press Release: Introducing Polaris – Kevin

  1. kcmill12

    Kevin. I really appreciate everything you’ve innovated for Westtown. It’s made a big difference in the way students navigate their way through Westtown’s daily schedule. Everyday I am in awe of the brilliance sound me here on this campus, and Polaris is another example of that. The use of Alchemy is especially interesting and innovative!

    Reply
  2. yihengxie

    It is absolutely amazing to see you creatively solve the problems in the Weekend Program through technology. The level of integration of your features is remarkable. I am at awe with such a streamlined creation. I hope everything goes well in the administrative process.

    I still remember when you talked to me about how Westtown Sign was killed in infancy. Your will and drive is empowering. I am so appreciative to see you carry on and produce a product that, in my opinion, is far advanced than your original idea. Keep programming!

    Reply
  3. tkbarnet

    Hey Kevin, I remember last year when you were designing this you wanted to implement some sort of punishment for people who didn’t show up for trips they signed up for. I was wondering if that is still planned or if it was cut why? But overall congrats on this really cool product of all your work.

    Reply
    1. kevinwang11 Post author

      Hi Tom, we decided not to implement a system that punishes people for not showing up mainly because of the implementation of a standby system. The system automatically upgrades people to the trip manifest once a slot becomes available. This almost guarantees optimum operational efficiency. Additionally, Alchemy prevents people from signing up for two or more trips with conflicting times which greatly discourages people from doing what you described.

      Thank you for your comment!

      Reply
  4. dexcoengilbert

    Kevin, this is seriously one of the coolest things I have seen a Westtown student do to give back to the community. Your presentations are immaculate, sleek, and modern and your website is absolutely stunning. In all seriousness, I do not know how you make it look so good. On another note, I am trying to find some constructive feedback to give and I can think of nothing. That is pretty rare. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. kevinwang11 Post author

      Hi Dex, people like you are the ones who drive me to create and innovate. I also want to tell you that this level of perfection requires nothing but time and commitment. For example, it took me half an hour just to figure out the positioning of the “menu” button. But do not hesitate to criticize Polaris. Your feedback is truly what will make Polaris perfect.

      Thank you for your comment!

      Reply

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