A new app helps students 'shlack off' without missing deadlines

'Shlacker' helps students add deadlines from their syllabus with ease

Shlacker, a due-date assignment planning app developed by ASU students, is currently in on-going development for its next big version update due to release in fall of 2018.

Tad Crother, business senior and founder of the app, said the idea came to him three years ago while he was sitting in the library going over his schedule.

“I just kind of thought of the idea when I was a freshman, sitting in the library entering all my due dates into my computer,” Tad said. “I just wanted something that did it for me, so that's kind of what got it started for me.”

Crother’s original idea for the app was very different, however. The app was to be a website you could download a file from and sync the due dates to your iCalendar, but he decided it would be best suited to become an app.

“I had to kind of try to figure out how to build an app," Crother said. "That was a very long, tedious process that some are not too good at. It's definitely changed a lot and initially, it was just going to be due dates, and that's what the current app is. But going forward, the due date sections is going to be one of the five tabs on the app.”

Daniel Pilgrim, computer science senior and developer on Shlacker, said that his current focus on the app is bug fixes based on current user patterns.

"I'm focusing on the user stories, if a frequent user were to visit the app, what action patterns do they usually use and make sure those are good, those are bug-free,” Pilgrim said. “Making sure all the bugs are not present in the application and also incorporating the user interface and making sure it's a beautiful design that's very eye-catching”

When asked about the overall reaction among professors on Shlacker, Crother said that they remain outstandingly positive.

“They love the idea. Actually last school year right when the first version came out, I would go into lecture halls, and I'd show the professor really quick five minutes before the class and say, ‘Hey, can I do a quick two minute presentation class before you get started,’ and they would always let me,” Crother said. “There wasn't a single professor that told me no, 'cause this is helping them too. They obviously want to see students succeed.”

Brian Hunter, public service junior and marketing manager for the app, said his primary focus is expanding the user base of the app by handing out fliers and business cards on campus.

“Just get out there peer-to-peer, talk to every person, because this market in school ... is just the best market to be in," Hunter said. “Getting that person-to-person and good customer service so they know what they're getting is the right product for them.”

Crother and Pilgrim said that among bug fixes, the next version of the app will be compatible with Android devices, since currently the app is only available on iPhone. Other features will include an auto-update system, which will be able to continuously update due dates throughout the school year, and peer-to-peer contact messaging. 

“We're planning right now on fall to be the release date for the next version,” Tad said. “It's going to be strictly ASU starting next year, not at any other schools.”

Crother said that he has no intentions on expanding the app to a larger market beyond college students.

Screenshot of the App version of Shlacker, showing the class selection list and the due date calendar.

“Our plan is to keep it pretty exclusive to the college environment — to even register, you have to have an .edu email,” Crother said. “I think that's going to be one of our big advantages, is that it is just for students, it's something for them made by students.”

Reach the reporter at amville8@asu.edu or follow @AustinMVillegas on Twitter. 

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