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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA students create app designed to establish community

KorkBoard, an iPhone application that launched earlier this week, aims to connect UA students with events around campus.

Flinn Scholars Viputheshwar “Vip” Sitaraman, a molecular and cellular biology sophomore, and Jacob “Jake” Rockland, an electrical and computer engineering junior, came up with the idea of KorkBoard in the beginning of 2015.

The pair decided it was hard to find events or communities at UA and wanted a free app to let the students know when something exciting was happening on campus.

It combines interactive feeds and “[connects] people within a community,” said Rockland.

Both Rockland and Sitaraman said KorkBoard makes the event planning process easier, specifically for college campuses.

Rockland, a self-proclaimed hammock enthusiast, is currently traveling throughout Spain on a semester abroad. He said as soon as he gets back, he wants to use KorkBoard to find others to hammock with.

Rockland said KorkBoard is different from other similar apps because it is “focused on community.”

The pair have compared the look of KorkBoard to anonymous status app Yik Yak, and have claimed that Yik Yak served as inspiration for their app.

“[It’s] completely flat, really simple, one font … They did such a clean job with it,” Sitaraman said when asked why he was so inspired by Yik Yak’s look.

Rockland mentioned the decision to look similar to other apps was made because both he and Sitaraman wanted the public use of KorkBoard to be intuitive since it would be comparable to previous popular apps.

Rockland said the only problem he’s run into while developing and launching KorkBoard is traveling around Spain because his Internet connection has been “substandard” throughout his travels, which has made it “nearly impossible” to send coding.

Six months and 28,000 Facebook messages between the team later, KorkBoard is available for download at the UA.

According to Rockland, KorkBoard had a smooth release. They had a month of beta testing with roughly 30 UA students to help tweak bugs before the official launch.

Even though no major problems have hit so far, Rockland said there’s always work to be done and improvements to make.

Being in class, studying and working together on projects and being in such close proximity to each other over the last year, Sitaraman said he and Rockland discovered they were both extremely like-minded and are very nocturnal people, which is also how KorkBoard came to be.

“Sleep is not a thing at KorkBoard,” Sitaraman said, laughing.

For now, it is solely for the campus of UA and its students, but gaining 130 users in the first 24 hours of launch bodes well for both Sitaraman and Rockland, and they plan to expand to other campuses over time.

“At the end of the day, I’m just, like, really excited we’ve put out a product … for the community [at the UA],” Rockland said.

KorkBoard is currently available in the App Store. For more information, visit

“It’s damn exciting. … I never expected to be sitting here and actually holding the app in my hands” Sitaraman said.

Follow Lex K. Banner on Twitter.

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