Like many college students, Tiger Lam and Sallar Tahbaz found it difficult to make plans during their freshman year because all of their friends had different schedules. Learning from their frustrations, they decided to take matters into their own hands. The duo created Hangski, an app that allows users to input their schedules and see when their friends are available, to help other students avoid this issue.
The app, which launched Nov. 18, makes it easier for users to see their friend’s availability and message them or make a group chat ideally leading to more spontaneous plans.
“So we developed this idea because this would allow you to know exactly when all of your friends would be available at any point,” said Lam, a sophomore majoring in business administration. “When you’re bored, you can just see who is available and then text them — people who you wouldn’t have texted in the first place.”
Lam came up with the idea during high school but only started working on it with his roommate in Fall 2018. They hired a developer in India to create the app.
“It took about a year and a half to finally push it to market … so it’s been a while, but now that we’ve released it, we’re really happy with the results,” said Tahbaz, a sophomore majoring in real estate development.
The app contains three pages that include messages, a directory and the user’s profile. The directory page shows the friends’ statuses, and the profile shows the user’s own availability status and interests.
Users can share their availability through a green, yellow or gray dot on their status to show whether they are available, may be available later or are unavailable.
Lam and Tahbaz looked to apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and Skype when developing the feature that shows when users are on the app. Tahbaz said he wanted to use this feature in a way that would help people meet up in real life, rather than just show when they could chat with each other online.
“We pretty much found out a way that this would be the best way to bring people together through the use of statuses, which no app is currently doing,” Tahbaz said. “I think it’s a pretty new market … but I think that one big app could really just change the entire landscape and cause a lot of more apps to come into play.”
Lam and Tahbaz are trying to grow the app’s usership by marketing primarily through social media and posting on college Facebook pages.
“A lot of people enjoyed the UI [user interface] of the app. It’s really clean, it’s really basic. We’re slowly gaining traction,” Lam said. “We’re just slowly trying to gain more traction to get some more users on the app and hope that it grows bigger in the coming few months.”
Robert Tang, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said he started using the app after he heard about it from his friends and said he liked how convenient the app made it for him to hang out with friends he wouldn’t normally see.
“[The app] makes it really easy to just go straight to who’s free to hang right now instead of having to ask a bunch of people,” Tang said. “It’s a wonderful accessory on top of your other messaging apps.”
Lam said he believes the app would be useful to other students like him who had faced trouble coordinating plans or didn’t know who to hang out with when they were bored, especially on a large college campus that can be isolating for students who aren’t involved in organizations.
He said they are already working on an update to make the app more accessible, allowing users to upload their class schedule and personal activities so the app can automatically change their status.
“I think that would help a lot because a lot of people find it a little bit tedious to change your status every time you’re free and change your status every time you’re not free,” Lam said.
Tahbaz said the app has made it easier for him and his friends to plan activities with others and helped him avoid scheduling conflicts and miscommunications.
“It definitely has been easier,” Tahbaz said. “We’ve been using it, and it’s made it more convenient for us to figure out who’s available and who’s not at whatever time that we want to hang out, go get something to eat or go watch a movie or something.”