App design for sustainability 

Proposed by Professor Rowena Innocent


Most phone apps rely on manual input from the user. However, inputs can often be automated through the use of sensors and other automated monitoring equipment. The project team should consider how they could combine scientific equipment with an app to improve data input.

This will include research available technologies and may include prototyping automation ideas.The team should research current sustainability apps already available and undertake market research within the student community to address the challenge set out below.


This challenge sets out to create an App that measures sustainability for the student community. It will include:

  1. Assessing the usefulness of existing sustainability apps.
  2. Identifying the needs of students. For example, what would help them improve their carbon footprint or support a healthy and sustainable lifestyle?
  3. Choose a student need as the focus of the app product.
  4. Invent a new app solution and, where possible, build a prototype concept (Minimum Viable Product) which could range from paper-based concept drawings through to a fully working prototype.

Output ideas

The output could take one of two forms depending on the skills and interests of the team:

  1. Use of a graphical interface to mock-up the design.
  2. Coding up of a prototype App.

The concept or prototype should be market tested (with the student community).There should also be consideration of sustainability impact linking to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Examples of Apps that address sustainability goals can be found on the active sustainability website: Top 10 apps for sustainable living