Design an iPhone app in 15 minutes… then build and publish it in a day!

At Barcamp Shanghai this weekend, Matt held a session called “Design an iPhone app in 15 minutes”. After a couple of minutes of introduction, teams had to grab paper, stencils, glue and scissors, and mockup a concept for an iPhone app as quickly as possible! When the time ran out, each team had 30 seconds to present their idea.


You can see more photos of the session on Facebook.

The winning concept was by Adriana Gascoigne of Girls in Tech’s, called “Save Me!” As the Geeks on a Plane blog put it:

One of the liveliest interactions of the day came from the “How to Make an iPhone App in 15 minutes” hands-on workshop. The winning idea was for a Girls in Tech “Save Me” iPhone app that helps you delicately remove yourself while you’re being chatted up via an incoming call to your iPhone.


We were really inspired by the quality of the ideas, and thought we’d put our coding skills to the test too. How quickly could we turn the concept into reality? Matt and Black rolled up their sleeves …


…and a few hours later had produced a complete iPhone app! Here are some screenshots:

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The app will soon be available for free on the iTunes App Store… once it gets past Apple’s not-so-fast approval process!


Matt Mayer

Matt Mayer is a founder at ReignDesign. Matt is from the UK and was based in Shanghai for ten years. He is now living in Bangkok, Thailand.


  1. Thanks for the comments! We’re aware there are similar apps available already on the App Store. This was more of an experiment to see how quickly we could conceive and build an app from start to finish.

  2. @Alex — it certainly has been done, but there are a couple of key differences:

    1) The concept was developed at an event and the attendees voted on the winner. You’d have to be a serious wet blanket to tell the crowd “Sorry, this one can’t win because someone already did it.” The point was to get people involved and to have some fun.

    2) Other apps are generic “fake calling” apps. This one is designed and branded to be for the specific situation of being hit on in a bar. It may be a bit disingenuous, but some girls might not feel comfortable directly telling off an aggressive guy.

    Personally, I think Matt was quite creative in designing the event, running it, and following up with a super-agile dev day. Great work, Matt!

  3. as addition to nick’s comments, i do think this kind of events is quite useful and fun.
    i’d like to join next time !

  4. Matt –
    I had a TON of fun at your iPhone building workshop. Thank you! I think that I’m going to reproduce this type of concept for a Girls in Tech event in San Francisco (of course, giving props to you and ReignDesign!)
    Thank you for a wonderful experience in Shanghai. You guys opened up our Silicon Valley eyes . . .

  5. Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my iPad and tested to see if it
    can survive a 25 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is
    now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off
    topic but I had to share it with someone!

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