Design Jam London #1: 50 design enthusiasts. 9 hours. 1 challenge.

Wow! The adrenalin from Design Jam London #1 has just about died down. This collaborative design event took place at City University London this past weekend and brought together around 50 User Experience designers, Developers, Visual designers and more, all with different levels of experience and skills ranging from your students to industry professionals.

Team formation at Design Jam London 1

Design Jam London #1: The day and how it unfolded

Initially the City University London conference room was met with very early morning bleary eyes. However, once the caffeine kicked-in – enthusiastic attendees got stuck into the days challenge in earnest.

Design Jammers by Benjamin Ellis

Design Jams challenge teams to solve a design challenge within a day. All in all come to think of it – it is a pretty intense time-frame within a highly concentrated environment!
The general format of the day comprised of:

  • a welcome talk outlining the format of the day
  • an introduction of the days design challenge topic
  • team formation with a maximum of five (5) per team
  • x3 design phases & x2 presentation slots

Teams were however provided with a rough day schedule which suggested guidelines on how best to dedicate their time and resources.

The challenge topic

What is the ideal interface to track & trace relevant online content, visited across multiple devices and locations?
Lets explore how users can quickly and effectively access web content, that they have seen via multiple devices and locations…

Design Jams don’t intend to be competitions but rather to provide a collaborative knowledge sharing exercise and environment. As such all teams were given the same challenge, and were encouraged to help each other along the way.

Check out the complete topic brief which gives more context.

The teams & their outputs

Amazingly the 9 participating teams surpassed expectations and achieved a lot in just 9 hours. They also managed to add almost all their day outputs to the wiki on the fly!

All of these outputs, visualizations and other contributions made during the day have been contributed by the teams under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license.

  1. OPTIMATES Jacques Chueke, Rafael Lüder, James Morris, Mariana Mota, Simon Thompson
  2. Personified Nick Smith, Gerard Rallo, Matt Bee, Tes Macpherson, Raj Arjan
  3. Team Trois Enor Anidi, Himesh, Siegfried, Fabien Marry, Julia Werth
  4. FourTeam Jon Searle, Benjamin Ellis, Sagi Chaitas, Jan Srutek, Grant Morison
  5. The Sharpiest Enzo Cesanelli, Francis Norton, Jonathan Mulvihill, Katarzyna Stawarz, Monika
  6. Fruit Pastiles George Phylaktis, Meirion Williams, Rik Williams, Pei Chi Lo, Shek Man Tang
  7. SevenHeaven Boon Chew, Sebastian Wachholz, Lance Cooper, Jim Anning, Jeff Van Campen
  8. UXBASTARDS Marcin Grodzicki, Eewei Chen, Kuba Kucharski, Keng Susumpow, Tom
  9. Bucket Sjors Timmer, Helena, Rob Enslin, Makayla Lewis, Ana Roji

Post-it note collaboration by Benjamin Ellis

TeamFour hard at work by Benjamin Ellis

Team discussion by Benjamin Ellis

Rob Enslin presenting Bucket 9


Invited mentors (Leisa Reichelt from Disambiguity and Ivanka Majic from Canonical), made an interesting addition to the days proceedings.

It was really great to see seasoned UX professionals, wandering around the venue – giving encouragement, advice, tips, feedback and at times even deploying power snacks in the form of Jellybeans.
Most importantly they helped the teams maintain that all important focus!

Feedback so far suggests that their presence was very much welcomed and the teams seemed to really appreciate having an external ‘voice of reason’ – rather than it come across as being an overbearing team member or organiser.

Leisa mentoring a team

Ivanka mentoring

Post event coverage

There has been a stream of online post event commentary. Here’s a list of the write-ups, discussions, tweets and pictures so far:

Blog posts

Twitter & Flickr

Also be sure to check out the Twitter activity: #djl1 #designjam #designjamlondon as well as pictures on the Flick group pool


A massive thanks to local champions – Johanna Kollmann, Joe Lanman & Franco Papeschi. This entire event was driven, organised and put together by them over a matter of days after being conceptualised over a single meeting along the Thames. Amazing!

Also a huge thanks to the other supporters who stepped up to the mark – City University London for the amazing venue & Johnny Holland for the online media coverage and exposure.

What next for Design Jams?

The organisers are already collating and encouraging further feedback from all participants. Over the course of the next few days they will combine this feedback with their own retrospective outcomes.

The aim would be put together a toolbox or handbook of some sort that will live on the Design Jams wiki and can easily be passed onto all other interested local champions – helping to spread and fuel the emergence of further collaborative design events.

Design Jammers at Design Jam London 1

Do you want to organise a Design Jam in your area?

Yay! Interest has already spread like wildfire and has sparked conversation in various locales around the globe including, Berlin, Bristol, Copenhagen & Curitiba!

This is awesome news for the future of ‘Open Design’. Personally – the Mozilla Labs Concept Series are really excited by the potential of these types of collaborative design jam sessions and look forward to support more of them going forward.

It’s as simple as adding your name and other details to the ‘Sign me up!’ list on the wiki or emailing cyberdees[at]mozilla[dot]com and pretty soon we’ll support getting a Design Jam near you going.