How Agathon’s App for EveryCampus Powered Prayer Across 4,234 College Campuses

Summary—Agathon’s Discovery, UX Design, and Development Work for EveryCampus 

EveryCampus—a ministry with the ambitious goal of covering every campus across the U.S. with prayer by the end of 2020—came to Agathon in need of a digital app to guide students on a “prayer walk.”

Agathon was tasked with preliminary user experience (UX) work. But because the UX work was such a success, EveryCampus asked our team to do the design and dev work for their app, too. The app is user-friendly and engaging, enabling students to virtually or physically participate in the “prayer walk.” 

Powered by the app, EveryCampus was able to reach their goal. They covered all 4,234 college campuses nationwide in prayer by May 2020—ahead of schedule.

I love to see how well Agathon works with others—you guys are team players. Agathon has been a rock: Alan still checks in, Rachel is our primary contact, Luke’s been there from the beginning, and Kedron’s elbow-deep in everything.

Mark W. Breneman Digital Product Manager, EveryCampus

In the Weeds—a Holistic Look at the EveryCampus Partnership 

The Client: EveryCampus Fosters Prayer Among Young Adults    

EveryCampus is a collaborative initiative with a noble mission: to make the gospel available—through prayer communities—on every college and university campus in America. 

When EveryCampus approached Agathon, they had the ambitious goal of covering every campus in the U.S. with prayer by the end of 2020. It started as a shared vision between Cru and InterVarsity. Over time, the initiative expanded to embrace dozens of partner organizations all working to reach every campus in the United States. 

The Challenge: De-Siloing Campus Ministries to Plan a Unified App   

For the first phase of their initiative to imbue prayer on campuses, EveryCampus envisioned an app that would guide users—the students—through a physical “prayer walk” on the campuses. 

As a joint venture, each of the dozens of organizations had its own in-house development staff. But in the spirit of equal partners, they decided to hire neutral outside agencies all working together to assist with bringing their shared vision to life by helping with UX, development, data analysis, and marketing.

There were a lot of moving parts, so the challenge was figuring out exactly how to bring the vision to fruition while fairly involving each ministry. 

The Ask: Agathon’s Growing Role—From UX Research to Development 

Agathon is an integrated agency and was initially asked to assist with the strategy, specifically around UX. Because the UX work went so well, we were also tasked with design and development.

The Scope: How and What the Client Received to Reach Success

As with most of our projects, we started with a Discovery phase. Agathon walked the EveryCampus team—including key stakeholders and decision makers—through a series of exercises to help them create: 

Because this project was initially a joint effort between independent organizations, there were many stakeholders with diverse visions. And yet, Agathon was able to get everyone on the same page and aligned around the same goals thanks to our exclusive Discovery exercises

Before we began building the prayer walk app itself, we used the personas to guide the UX. The Agathon team asked and answered questions around which features were beneficial for the end user. From there, we created a user interface (UI) focused on the user’s needs. Agathon removed distractions and unnecessary items from the UI of the app to keep users focused on the main goal: communal prayer.

Collaborating with other agencies for the backend data, we then built the app that incorporated the frontend UI with the backend data.

The Pandemic: EveryCampus and Agathon Pivot—Without Missing a Beat 

This entire project was based on people going to campuses near them and physically walking around to pray. When COVID-19 shut everything down, the EveryCampus team demonstrated a clear vision by quickly developing a virtual prayer walk alternative. 

The Agathon team was once again able to strategize with EveryCampus and make decisions on how best to implement the app—despite the necessary pivot to virtual. 

The Results: Reviewing Project Wins 

  • Guiding personas. The creation of personas guided every decision, giving project leaders a way to present their case to leadership around a unified goal.
  • Interactive prayer walk guide. We took a detailed prayer walk guide (with more than 50 steps!) and distilled it into a user-friendly interface that incorporates imagery in place of text where appropriate and keeps users engaged.
  • Pivoting during a pandemic. When COVID-19 restrictions began impacting in-person ministry, we worked with the EveryCampus team to adjust their strategy and vision. In the end, they decided on a short-term pivot, providing options for a virtual prayer walk while still looking ahead to the return of in-person ministry opportunities.
  • Covering every campus in prayer. EveryCampus launched on December 20, 2018. By May 14, 2020, all 4,234 college campuses in the United States had been covered in prayer, despite the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presented.

On to the Next Goal—Agathon’s Partnership With EveryCampus Continues 

EveryCampus is looking forward to their next milestone: fostering gospel movements on each of those college and university campuses by 2030. They will enable this by engaging the people in local churches and communities in campus ministry, whether that’s supporting existing ministries or starting new ones.

We’re excited to continue our work with them in this next phase of their organizational vision.