Globall - Baseball Hack Day 2018

OVERVIEW

Globall is a search web portal dedicated to locating past and present Major League Baseball players, where they were born.

Platform

Desktop & Mobile Web Browser Application

Tools

React, next.js, node.js, lahmandb, Sketch, Illustrator, Photoshop

SCOPE

6 hours

ROLES

Frank Pinzin — Database Programmer / Specialist

Kevin LeClair — Web Applications Programmer

Jason Das —UX & UI Designer

The Challenge

Baseball Hack Day is a fun, friendly one-day hacking competition. It takes place in Boston, Montreal, Chicago, San Diego, and Toronto. It is the day where area baseball minds come together and see what cool projects can be created within a limited time. The project could be (but is not limited to) a tool, app, website, or data visualization. For the Toronto hack teams, we would have to present our final solutions to judges made of members of the Toronto Blue Jays front office and Rogers Communications.

Our team came together at this hackathon for the love of baseball. Baseball is not considered as much as a global sport to the levels of saying soccer or basketball. We wanted to showcase the talents of baseball are growing outside the United States, and that some of the greatest players have played for Major League Baseball.

The Solution

Using the Lahman Baseball Database, Globall maps out the birthplace of over 19,000 past and present players to ever play in Major League Baseball. It allows the user to see a high concentration of baseball players around the globe. It would allow you to filter by country, year of birth, key position played, and team.

We decided to execute Globall as a web browser-based application, for desktop and mobile devices. Due to the amount of time allocated for the hackathon, we opted to produce a desktop browser optimized prototype.

Research and Process

Competitive Analysis

We wanted Globall to run as “The Google Maps of Baseball”, without the heavy statistics covered by every sports website that covers baseball.

We later ran into issues that Google Maps required latitude and longitude coordinates to accurately place markers, versus city names. In terms of presenting the information, we looked at AirBnB.com use of keeping a plane open for the map while updating on search.

Computation Bottlenecks

Due to time constraints and processing of data, we limited the search query of the database to process only Ontario, Canada for our prototype to run smoothly.

We didn’t take into account that there could be some duplicate name overlap as discovered during the early test of the web application.

Image Database

We used Microsoft Bing Image Search to pull MLB headshots for our player profiles. However, the image search results were inconsistent in terms of sizing and image quality.

We also overused the image pull results that were limited by Bing. It wasn’t until later from advice from another web developer to scrape the images from Baseball Fangraphs.

Low & Mid Fidelity Screens

In the initial design phase, we wanted all the information upfront for the user. Therefore there would be no external links or pop up windows for the user to comprehend. All the search filters would be on the top bar navigation.

This was the first mid-fidelity screen we agreed upon for Globall. In the interest of time, we focus more on search functionality. Therefore we weren’t able to implement a more aesthetically pleasing prototype.

Conclusion

Key Takeaways

We felt we got a lot done in the allotted 6 hours for design and development. Upon presentation to the judges, we felt we created a great educational and awareness web application that can benefit Major League Baseball’s historical legacy. The possible future capability would be to run as an information kiosk at the Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York.

Results

We decided we had a good entry-level of the web application, that we will continue to add more to the web application in our free time after the hackathon. We also brainstormed a possible consumer product design that would be great for die-hard and casual baseball fans to give a more interactive aspect to the love of baseball.

Please Sir. I Want Some More.

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