School Spirit App Design

A student project for Cal Poly Pomona Foundations in 5D


The Challenge

Create an app that solved a problem current students at California Polytechnic University, Pomona have with the school.

The Idea

There was a belief that school spirit was very low among the students at CPP. “School Spirit” later became defined as a feeling of community with other students and a pride to go to the school.

The Solution

The app was created by asking how it could create a strong line of communication between the clubs, organizations, colleges, and social groups at Cal Poly Pomona and the students.


The Process

A group of designers began tackling the school spirit issue first by laying out what was and was not known about the issue.

The group then began casually interviewing students at Cal Poly Pomona to get their thoughts on the issue and question why there was a lack of spirit.

Consistent and clear communication between the school, groups on campus, and students seemed to be the major issue. The group hypothesized that better communication would lead to students attending more events on campus- this is where they believed the answer was.

Initially, the app was going to be integrated with BlackBoard so that all students at CPP would be able to easily sign in. A voting aspect within the app was necessary for students to feel connected with school decisions. This could influence future events held by the school or clubs as well as a quick way to get a straw poll.

The app would also have a messaging feature to send events and reminders to friends. Users could communicate within the app and see if any friends were also planning on going to gatherings.

I personally worked with the group to generate questions and create a formal survey to visualize students’ issues and opinions about how school spirit could be improved. I kept track of results and coordinated a storyboard to show the group’s process.

It was clear school spirit was an issue.

One idea centered around the relationship between how often a student wore CPP gear and how close they felt to the school.

After reviewing these answers, the group focused on making students aware of events held on campus. The idea was that if they could go to one convenient location to see a variety of events and vote on ideas they liked, they would feel closer to Cal Poly Pomona. An empathy map was drawn up to visualize the minds of CPP students and how they felt.

The Design

The first paper prototypes of the app were developed and tested on a few users. Initially, it was unclear which aspects of the app the user could interact with. Icons were needed to direct actions and the idea initially was hindered by being monochromatic.

The app was then created digitally with Adobe XD with the critiques from the paper prototype in mind.

The Insight

After the first design, users said the flow of the screens made sense but had some issues. Star values seemed too low to entice students to engage with the app for longer. The star symbol indicating the “value” of each input looked too much like a rating- users initially thought they were engaging with poorly rated input posts.

Some elements like large checkmarks didn’t appear elsewhere in the app. When signing in, it seemed like the app was missing a function to choose clubs users belonged to. One of the largest takeways from the initial design was that if the app was focused on raising school spirit, it should have brighter colors. The varying tints of blue evoked a somber feeling.

The app needed to look brighter and make users feel like they were making progress when getting stars from their input. It also needed some sort of filter to switch between friends/ organizations the user followed at CPP and general input posts from the rest of the school. If there was only one feed, users would get fatigued scrolling for long periods of time before they saw input posts from clubs they weren’t already part of.

The Redesign

More prominent use of orange and star redesign
A footer at the bottom separates followed groups from general CPP inputs
Automatically follow clubs when signing up