Design Jam Chapel Hill #1: Creating a virtual experience for visiting historic North Carolina sites

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recently played host to the first international Design Jam. Local champion (Jade E. Davis) & Mentor (Joyce Rudinsky), together with the support from the Institute for Arts and Humanities – did a stellar job rallying together a small group of passionate User Experience designers, Developers, Visual designers and more to tackle a topic challenge that was dear to the hearts of locals.

Design Jam team

To learn more about what Design Jams – their history, past jams and more – surf on over to the global Design Jams wiki.

The Day

A small group of 15 jammers gathered on the morning of Saturday, the 26th March 2011. They brought together a diverse set of skills and most hadn’t met previously. They were soon split into 3 groups (which is enough for diverse ideas and solutions) based on their key skills as well as techniques that they would like to practise and learn.

While a pretty intense day lay ahead working through the topic challenge the attendees still found the time to share their directions during more than one part of the day, as well as socialise over copious amounts of coffee and an impressive lunch spread.

The Topic

How can we create meaningful virtual experiences of historic sites throughout North Carolina for tourists and locals alike?

North Carolina is full of historic sites. There are 27 in total, four of them located in the The Triangle area (Historic Stagville, Duke Homestead, Bennett Place and The State Capitol). Many people are unfamiliar with these sites or do not live within reasonable travel distance to visit them. Still, their history is important.

Read the full topic which can be located on the wiki.

Teams member meet each other

Team Outputs

As intense a schedule as it was, the teams did amazingly well – sharing a ton of research, personas, sketches & wire-frames on their respective wiki pages. This was partly due to both Jade & Joyce reminding teams to focus, focus, focus!

  • Sevlow – [team members soon]
  • Gumbo – [team members soon]
  • bbens – Beth Sams, Brian Cary, Elliot Hauser, Nick Bruns, Sarah Riggs





As with all of our initiatives – these outputs, visualizations and other contributions made during the day have been shared by the teams under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. The complete set of team design processes and outcomes are available on the wiki.

Post Event

Minus a few hiccups and retrospective thoughts, the event was deemed a great success – enough to suggest that a follow-up will be in the works very soon.

Attendee blog posts have started to filter through:

Also all Twitter activity avalble via @designjamch, #djch & #designjam

What’s Next?

We’re very excited that more Design Jams will be taking place over the next few months in Milan (Italy), Oxford (UK) and Birmingham (UK), spreading the idea of open collaboration between web technologists alike.

Want to get involved? Know someone?

We’re actively on the lookout for more local champions around the globe!

The lunch spread

If you’d like to run your own Design Jam please show your interest by adding your details to the Design Jam wiki and emailing cyberdees[at]mozilla[dot]com.