Walkhome app set to launch mid-August

New student app to increase accessibility of service for users 

Walkhome General Manager Matt Rowland stands at the service's kiosk in the JDUC.

In August, Walkhome will release its first ever app, available for iPhones and Androids, allowing students to request walks with the touch of a button.

Walkhome is a free AMS service that provides all students with a safe walk home, both on campus and in the greater University District. Its teams, made up of one male and one female identifying student, wear plainclothes during walks to ensure anonymity. 

For users, the new app builds on the confidentiality aspect of the service.

Instead of calling or approaching the Walkhome kiosk, the new app will allow students to use their mobile devices to anonymously send pick-up requests. 

After receiving a student’s pick-up location and special instructions—a certain door or exit a student would like to start the walk from—Walkhome will send a team to the student. 

Matt Rowland, Walkhome head manager, told The Journal the app was developed in an “attempt to make things more accessible” for students. 

The goal is to improve the service’s ease of use, “whether you’re a first year who’s trying to get from class to residence, or somebody who was studying at Stauffer and heading back home for the night,” Rowland said.

“It’s there, it’s ready for them, and then we’ll send teams along,” he continued, adding that using the app is similar to “ordering anything or opening any other application” on a mobile device. 

According to Rowland, Walkhome will market the app to incoming first years during Orientation week. 

In addition to promoting the app during events like Sidewalk Sale and Queen’s in the Park, Rowland said Walkhome will be providing Snapchat codes to a download link in orientation kits.

Walkhome will also be informing residence Dons about the app so they can promote it to first year students. 

The app has been in development since 2015, but funds from the Women’s Safety grants in 2017 allowed Walkhome to partner with local software company Kingston WebWorks to expedite its progress.   

The app is currently in open beta, with testing in both the Google Play and Apple store. Walkhome will accept feedback and adjust the app until its official launch in mid-August. 

 

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