The app challenge was a nation-wide contest where middle and high school students solved a school or community problem using their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills by developing a mobile app. The contest was created by TSA (Technology Student Association) and the Verizon Foundation and TSA contacted CommonPlaces to build the app. Since the contest launch in 2012, over 3,500 teams have submitted mobile app concepts with the winning apps being downloaded over 23,500 times.
In order to meet the rapid demand of mobile usage, the latest version of the website was designed and developed using a “Mobile First” approach.
A large part of the competition is the "Fan Favorite" award. All teams who have won the "Best in State" award are eligible and the winner is chosen by popular vote via text message.
Over 110,000 votes were cast via text message for the “Fan Favorite” award in 2016. In 2017, over 154,000 people voted. CommonPlaces Interactive and TSA/Verizon were honored with the 2016 WebAward for "Outstanding Website" by the Web Marketing Association.