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December 2017
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Personal Design Projects

Apart from the professional design work, most designers, especially aspiring designers invest a reasonable amount of time on personal ‘side projects’. These projects typically include redesign or UX analysis of an existing product, concept product design, usability testing etc. They are really good for practicing UX skills. Simultaneously, most designers showcase them in their portfolio, which contributes to their career advancement in one way or another.

‘Design for a Cause’ Projects

While UX analysis of sites like Airbnb is useful as a portfolio piece, in most cases, it does not go beyond that. Designers, especially aspiring designers who are doing design exercises to enhance their portfolio, can accomplish much more by simply adding a social cause to their design projects. For instance, instead of redesigning Airbnb landing page, aspiring designers can redesign the landing page of a charity of his/her choice. While Airbnb probably does not care about these ‘redesign projects’, most charity, specially the small ones would appreciate the effort and can benefit from it. This way, designers can amplify the impact of their side projects by ‘designing for a cause’.

Amplify the impact of your design projects by ‘designing for a cause’

Examples for Inspiration:

There are many ways to begin a ‘design for a cause’ project. Here are few examples for inspiration:

  • UX analysis of a website / app of a charity of your choice
  • Redesign a charity website
  • Usability testing of a social tool that you like
  • Something similar to ‘Run for a Cause’: design for a charity and ask your connection to sponsor your design by donating for that charity. If you have experience in online fundraising, you can have huge impact with your design by engaging the community in a good cause
  • Design and develop (for designers who have some coding skill / who can collaborate with developers) a simple (i.e. something within the scope of side projects) website for a local charity that does not have the budget to make a website
  • Design and develop a simple app, dedicate that to a charity, and donate a percentage of the revenue to the charity
  • Design a concept app to solve a social problem and make the concept open source for anyone to use without any restriction

These are just a few examples. Every designer can come up with his/her unique approach. The crux of this idea is to add a social cause to your design projects. Take this as a skeleton, and add your own creative flare to it!


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