An auditorium filled with 270 expectant individuals. The subtle smell of popcorn wafting in the air. Mirrorballs hanging from the ceilings in the hallway, their shimmering surfaces reflecting the sparkles in the speakers’ eyes as they waited in anticipation.
That’s what July 15 looked like at Kumari Hall, Islington College.
Disco Disco Vol 2—better understood as one of the most significant design conferences in Nepal—was the culmination of a month of planning, preparation and reiteration. With the rise of generative AI and spatial UX, we explored the profound implications for designers during these transformative times.
This time around, we had booked an auditorium, invited a large audience, and set up a 360 cam photo booth. But it hadn’t always been this grand.
It started with a simple idea that spilled over from a cup of coffee: to bring the design community of Nepal together. Swapnil Acharya, the man behind the humble thought, gathered the forces at Leapfrog, and the team worked their magic. In 2021, at a time when COVID had displaced the design community 6 feet apart, Design Disco Vol 1 virtually brought them together. After its success, a second edition felt inevitable.
Setting the stage 🎤
When Swapnil first mentioned bringing the disco back, Leapfrog’s forces were at a loss. We were nearing the end of May, and the date was set for July. It felt like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle with several pieces scattered everywhere.
Once the timeline was set and a checklist created, the pieces started falling into place. As such, we partnered with Islington College to set the stage for this design extravaganza.
When the time finally came to open registrations, we waited with bated breath. To our surprise, we had reached our set target of 270 registrations in just 24 hours!
Dancing with moves like Jagger 💃
Donning our best dancing shoes and our funkiest outfits, we welcomed students and professionals alike with open arms. The host, aka designated DJ for the day, Awantika Dhital, kicked off the event with her dazzling smile and witty quips. Subsequently, the show went on with different speakers sharing their experiences.
Here are some excerpts from the event:
“There are certain things we, as humans, are good at. Perceive, judge, induce, improvise, have long term memory. Figuring things out is human. We are built that way. We can work with AI together so that we compliment each other, we complete each other.”Swapnil Acharya, Creative Director at Leapfrog Technology Inc.
Keynote speaker on the topic, “Design in the time of AI”
“If a designer was Peter Parker in the physical world, they’d have to be Spiderman in the digital world.”Rabin Sharma, Lead Product Designer at IMEPay
Main speaker on the topic, “The Relationship Between User Research and UX Design in FinTech”
“What sets a good designer apart is that they know the ‘why’s’ of what they’re doing.”Pramin Joshi, Senior Product Designer at Leapfrog Technology Inc.
Lightning speaker on the topic, “Navigating the Maze”
“Understanding your users should not just be left to the designers. It needs to be a philosophy that’s embodied across any product company, and across every product team.”Nora Asha Gurung, Director of Product at Machnet Technologies Inc.
Main speaker on the topic, “5 Things I Learnt From Designers To Build Better Products”
“When I look at you all, I see design in all of you—with your own little features and occasional few bugs. It’s like a well-curated story.”Reeya Vaidya, Undergrad at IOE Pulchowk Campus
Lightning speaker on the topic, “Design for Us”
“Design helps to bring value to users, the business – and you. If your design just stays within the Figma file and doesn’t reach the user, it has little value.”Shyam Adhikari, Design Lead at Webpoint Solutions LLC.
Main speaker on the topic, “Increase your Designer Value”
“To this day, my father teases me about how every time I started crying as a toddler, he’d hand me either a mirror, or a paper and some pencils and I’d stop crying and start sketching. And I like to think that’s where I fell in love with sketchbooks. And art. And the idea of turning my feelings into random scribbles.”Dipshikha Giri, Senior MarComm Officer at Leapfrog Technology Inc.
Lightning speaker on the topic, “From Hobby to Hustle”
“It is great to have a manager from a design background to lead an ever-growing team of designers. Using the familiar framework, Design Thinking, designers can unlock their potential as managers and lead teams in a human-centered manner.”Abhash Bikram Thapa, Director of Design at Leapfrog Technology Inc.
Main speaker on the topic, “Unlocking Designers as Effective Managers”
After these awe-inspiring talks, we had a quick break. The crowd milled about as some folks stood on a dais and showed their moves before the 360 cam. This was soon followed by an insightful panel discussion with each panelist sharing inspiring anecdotes of projects that succeeded not only in aesthetics, but also in enhancing the lives of people who interacted with those designs daily.
Finally, the event wrapped up with an appreciation ceremony with tokens from Coffee of Promise and Makkuse.
Word on the street 💬
Hear what people had to say about the event!
“Being a part of the organizing committee was an incredible experience! Finally meeting designers I’ve connected with virtually was amazing. Kumari Hall provided the perfect, spacious venue. Giving back to the community warmed my heart. The excitement building up the entire week was contagious. Seeing all those happy faces made it all worthwhile. Though it’s sad we couldn’t accommodate everyone, it shows the event’s popularity. Looking forward to organizing more events and feeling proud of the young talents in the design industry!”Saroj Shahi, Principal Product Designer at Leapfrog Technology Inc.
“Nora’s session was amazing! She shared valuable product insights and her confidence in answering questions was inspiring. Grateful for her presence. Abhash dai’s presentation was unique and interesting. Appreciate his efforts in creating well-designed slides. Totally vibing with Dipshika’s bubbly and storytelling presentation.”Anamol Shrestha, Attendee
“I had the pleasure of speaking at Leapfrog’s amazing ‘Design Disco’. The turnout of design fans was amazing, leaving me inspired to contribute more to the design community. The energy in the hall was incredible, and I could sense the passion and commitment put into every detail of the event. Kudos to the event planning crew, especially Awantika, for their diligent and hard work. The speakers and presenters were fantastic. It was a wonderful opportunity for designers to connect with like-minded professionals and discuss common interests. I appreciate the invitation and the chance to be part of such a lovely designers’ day.”Shyam Adhikari, Speaker at Design Disco
“Overall, the event was a HIT session. The speakers were great, the discussions were stimulating, and the atmosphere was electric. I would definitely recommend Design Disco to anyone interested in UI/UX design.”Niraj Singh, Attendee
“The event was an incredible platform to celebrate the power of design and innovation. Being a lightning speaker allowed me to share my experiences and insights in the world of graphic and UI/UX design, and I am grateful for the opportunity. Design Disco brought together a talented and passionate community of designers, inspiring creativity and fostering collaboration. The sessions were highly relevant and insightful, offering valuable knowledge and fresh perspectives. I was truly impressed by the dedication of the organizing team and the seamless execution of the event.”Dayaraj Dhungana, Speaker at Design Disco
“Attending Design Disco 2023 was an incredible experience! From walking in for the dry runs to presenting on the big day amongst professionals, I feel grateful to have gotten this opportunity. The speakers were inspiring, and the topics covered were both thought-provoking and significant to the future of design. I gained valuable insights and connected with talented professionals. At the end of the day, I left feeling motivated to take my own design journey to the next level. Kudos to the organizers for putting together such a remarkable event. I can’t wait for the next one!”Reeya Baidya, Speaker at Design Disco
“Being part of the team behind Design Disco was an exhilarating journey! From ideation to execution, seeing our idea come to life and become a design extravaganza with selfless support from all our fellow Leapfroggers and an appreciative audience was incredibly rewarding. Grateful for the teamwork and excited for future endeavors. Thank you all for grooving with us.”Awantika Dhital, Events Coordinator at Leapfrog Technology Inc.
“The whole month leading up to Design Disco was a wild ride— from coming up with marketing plans to shooting TikTok videos to actually working on my slides as a lightning speaker. It was a carefully calibrated chaos and I loved every second of it. Pretty much survived on coffee runs but who’s counting? 👀”Dipshikha Giri, Senior MarComm Officer at Leapfrog Technology Inc.
Being on the lookout 👀
From dazzling lights to mesmerizing color palettes, Design Disco Vol 2 was a groovy affair as the design community gathered under one roof to celebrate the intersection of innovation, art, and all things design!
There is always something brewing at Leapfrog HQ.
Make sure to keep an eye out on our socials for more!