A bitmapped image of Edward Shturman

Cue

Cue is a minimalist active recall study app focused on helping students ask the right questions. Transform your notes into actionable study cards for easy pasting back into Google Docs or Notion, or export to Anki.

Cue wordmark banner

Inspiration

Cue was born at Dons Hack 2023 — an annual Spring hackathon, hosted by our friends at the Association for Computing Machinery × Women in Tech, at the University of San Francisco.

The timing for an AI-powered study app was just right:

So, what's our problem we're solving? After all, there are plenty of flashcard apps out there. The thing is, they assume you already know what to study. My friend & teammate Sanjana and I thought to leverage what we know about active recall — one of the most efficient, science-backed study methods — to create a tool that helps students ask the right questions.

Hackathon

I had about three months' worth of web dev experience at this point, and had to learn a lot, fast. That's one of the great things about hackathons — win or lose, you'll likely walk away knowing a hell of a lot more than you did coming in. And learn I did. Cue was my first production project writing:

Around this time, I was also getting into UI design, so I really wanted to push myself and have it stand out from the crowd.

Cue icon set
Cue icon set

I may or may not have spent 50% of our hackathon time in Figma. :p

The vibes were great:

compsigh teams at Dons Hack 2023
compsigh teams at Dons Hack 2023

Even though we were all competing, we knew a win for any team from my computer science club compsigh was a win for all of us. So, we'd work together in one room and would help each other out.

My desk setup on Saturday night. Pictured is my dual-monitor setup (code on one, API docs and live preview on the other) and a cup of tea.
Saturday night desk setup

It was time to lock in.

Oh, and we won, too. :)

A certificate congratulating me for winning Best App at Dons Hack 2023.

Features

So, what does Cue actually do?

Its primary function is to take your study notes, and return the most relevant questions to quiz yourself on.

Cue beta demo from May 2023, not long after the hackathon
Cue beta demo from May 2023, not long after the hackathon

I'm happy to say we continued working on Cue after Dons Hack, and shipped some pretty cool features.

Invite system

In-app invites
In-app invites

From day one, we made the app open to all USF students for free, but we wanted an invite system for our friends & family elsewhere. Here we hooked up Typeform to an API that would generate an invite code like gaius-julius-caesar (I was really into that European history class).

A demo of physical Cue invite cards with unique QR codes on the back

We really liked the idea of invites, and we went all out, because why not?

We produced a set of 50 physical invite cards, each with their own unique invite linked via QR code.

Invites had conditions like no-invite (invited students can't also +1) to help us scale reasonably.

We also gave these out to incoming freshmen at USF's Spring Involvement Fair.

Waitlist

I posted about Cue on X and we got a decent amount of students signing up for the beta. In August 2023, we sent out the invites.

Waitlist invite email
Waitlist invite email

Since then, we've put development on pause as we push through a heavy junior year in computer science. We hope to return shortly thereafter!

In the meantime, you can check out Cue's landing page, documentation, and source code.