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An onboarding
app serving
learner needs

Southwest’s onboarding app helps new hires better navigate their first months on the job


  • Native app


  • Audience research & discovery
  • Content deployment strategy


  • UX/UI
  • Art direction & brand extension
  • Illustration


  • Native-app development
  • Enterprise integration
  • Deployment

Flying should be fun and so
should your first day!

Southwest is known for their outstanding customer service. When they realized their new-hire experience didn’t match the excellence of their flight experience, their learning team set out to make a change.

Together we created a companion app to help make the unfamiliar familiar for all Southwest’s new hires.

Using a great app is like getting the window seat … oh so sweet

We came together with Southwest’s team to dream about what a great new-hire experience looks like, and we left energized with a vision for a custom companion app. The key to the experience? High-quality, thoughtful, modern design.

First, we wanted to make the app a personalized experience. The SWA U app greets you upon sign in, requires a selfie to set your profile up (cheese!), and has an onboarding schedule based on your role—a few reminders that this app is tailor-made for y-o-u.

Second, just like flying with Southwest, this app is hassle-free—there’s a simple and intuitive user experience to thank for that.

And third, the SWA U app is actually helpful! Why else would learners keep coming back to the app again and again throughout onboarding? This companion app reduces stress and makes every learner’s experience more enjoyable.

Images courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Brand always boards first

Southwest has an iconic brand. Most of us know what it feels like to be a Southwest customer and fly the skies in their care—you expect low fares and stellar customer service. Every. Time. So when we went to create their companion app for new hires, we built an app that’s a natural extension of the Southwest brand—one with the same level of dedication to the user experience. To support that brand consistency, we took every design detail into account, like color, type, playful voice and tone, generous use of puns, and of course the big, bold Southwest Heart.

Bold Blue

Warm Red

Sunrise Yellow


Midnight Blue

Dark Blue

Deep Silver

Summit Silver

Custom Icons

Good news: everything new hires need is already in the app

And when we say everything, we mean everything. Through this companion app, every Southwest employee has quick access to transportation details, hotel accommodations, interactive campus maps, and even directions to the nearest bathroom or cup of coffee.

Powered by technology that handles the BYOD environment with ease

In a bring-your-own-device environment, you have no control over whether your team uses iOS or Android, which can be stressful! The good news? With the right strategic team and a commitment to the best outcome for your users, it’s possible to create one app that works on all devices, making for happy employees and admins.

1 codebase — multiple deployments

Developed in Ionic

Supports over 16,000 devices

Available on Android & IOS

Avoid turbulence with an app that fits seamlessly into current infrastructure

Integration with current systems isn’t something to take lightly. It significantly impacts the admin experience and the time spent updating and maintaining the app. We made an app that not only cooperates with Southwest’s established technology but also complements it.

Like many other Fortune 500 companies, Southwest uses countless systems throughout their organization. The SWA U app utilizes an automated user-management system to communicate with existing infrastructure and ensure its IT department doesn’t duplicate efforts. We fully integrated with IT to educate about the SWA U app and set up their team for future success and empowered app management.

No, we didn’t forget about the admins

The admin experience is just as critical as the new-hire experience, which is why we paid special attention to making it simple and easy to update the system. These admins have the tools to manage content, users, classes, on-campus maps, and even app analytics with just a few clicks. It’s completely self-service, through an intuitive and beautiful experience.

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