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Friends for Life

AAU Campus App

In collaboration with Apple, we developed a mobile app for the Academy Art University based on the strategy “Get Together”. Our goal was to create an app where both online and onsite students could have a sense of community as well as easy access to school tools like courses, shuttle services, events, jobs, alumni, etc. We picked the idea “Friends for Life”, followed Apple Design Process and finally presented our work in the Apple Park.

The app prototype is now in development. Our team was voted Best User Experience by the panel of Apple judges.

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We set up a 4-hour focus group to conduct interviews with our students. From the interview results, we searched for patterns and synthesized them into three main areas: Administration, Course & Class information, Community.

Among all the problems listed, students voted for their top 5 pain points. Interestingly, all of these points were resulted from lacking communication and connections. Therefore, we determined our strategy line: “Get Together”.

Each team focused from different directions to solve the same problem, our team picked the idea “
Friends for Life”.


Lack of community

Poor onboarding experience

Lack of connection to industry

Poor access to resources and events

No single point contact for questions and answers

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Ziying Ye / Sun Yue / Ji Yu






User Flow


UI/UX Design


The friends you meet in college most likely are the friends you will have for the rest of your life. This app redesign will emphasize Group and Event functions to motivate users to better engage in campus life experiences.

The Academy of Art University is located in downtown San Francisco. Because of its geography, the school does not have an actual campus. Students feel disconnected because it is difficult to meet people outside of the classroom.

Our goal is to help students meet people, build connections and create lifelong friendships in a diverse, equal and inclusive community.

Now, come and find your "Friends for Life".


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Join Groups. Meet Friends.

Groups function allows students to meet people with the same interests, and explore themselves with various activities and talents. It functioned as a school lobby, where everybody gets together to make friends, share thoughts, and create their communities. For online students, this is the place more like an actual campus where they feel belong and connected.

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Track Events. Take Shuttles.

The calendar helps students track their class schedule, academic appointments, and of course, those added events with links direct to the map, which provides students with campus shuttles info that cover most streets in downtown San Francisco, recommending as the top choice for students to transport through the campus.

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Find Talents. Build Connections.

The ArtGallery is a platform that allows students to post their art and design works, show their talents and creativity, and encounter potential collaborations and career opportunities. The Direct Message function allows students to connect before they even meet, it also provides ways for students to keep communication after events.

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Create Events. Meet up.

The Event function allows students to check events they have registered or created. By tapping the “loudspeaker” button in the right upper corner, students can create the events, where we can fill out the address, date, and time, add a headline, and a brief description. There are also options for students to choose the event type and privacy options.

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“Lastly, Group 4 ‘Friends for Life’. Shown bright with your exceptional focus on user experience, your app exhibited a deep understanding of user behavior. It provided a smooth and intuitive journey for the users. Your team had our 2 designers say ‘it was kind of like a Pinterest feel to it’, which was great. It made the content engaging. It made it fun. It was a designer's dream which in turn would make it a user's dream experience. So your attention to detail your seamless navigation and thoughtful interactions truly enhance the overall user experience, setting a high standard for app design. For this. we are awarding your team with the Best User Experience. Congratulations. Group 4.”

Christopher Vieira, Ed.D.
Higher Education Leadership Executive at Apple

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