Hosted by the University of Colorado Engineering Council (UCEC), Engineering Days celebrate the engineering profession by giving students the chance to apply their skills in exciting, and creative ways. Held each April, thousands of students participate in a series of fun and challenging events dedicated to the advancement, and appreciation of their field.

Set to take place over three days, and featuring an Egg Drop, Rocket Launch, and Twiddle Concert, UCEC President Kumar Thurimella wanted to modernize the event’s presence, and asked ZeroSleep Designs to build an interactive application that would reflect the high level of passion that E-Days attracts.

Working with Thurimella and UCEC members, we embarked on an extensive discovery process and explored E-Days history, structure, and goals for the project. Heavily publicized, and an annual event, a large audience was expected to attend each of six attractions, and Thurimella’s team wanted to provide some form of social engagement.

In our initial meetings we discussed how we would get participants to engage with the app, and conceptualized a gamified system where users would be awarded badges for attendance, and points for involvement. Further correlating points to tiered prizes, the strategy serves to incentivize engagement through the reward of tangible receipts, and with a strong focus on user interaction, the BuddyPress platform was selected as a means of delivering this system.

Functioning as a medium for users to post status updates, friend request other users, and join discussions, BuddyPress allowed ZeroSleep Designs to rapidly prototype a social network and establish the framework for the E-Days application. Building on this foundation, a custom theme was created that extended BuddyPress to work as a networking conduit for the event, and also incorporate Achievements for WordPress. Customizing the plugin to host each of the digital badges our design team produced, capabilities for badge and point delivery through QR code and manual assignment allowed UCEC members staffing each of the event’s featured attractions to benefit from full control over the administration of prizes.

Named one of the biggest Engineering Days in years, the site generated a great response and Thurimella credits ZeroSleep Designs as a key figure in helping to drive thousands of students across campus to the event.