We’ve all been there.
All we need is one last case study to complete the grid on our portfolio homepage.
We look around for inspiration, desperately trying to find a product we can redesign to prove our design chops to our prospective employers.
Until we look at our phones.
A quick search for “Spotify redesign” or “Spotify concept” on platforms like Behance or Dribbble (and even “Spotify case study” here on the UX Collective) shows that Spotify is one of the top products designers want to redesign. Not because the current experience or UI looks bad whatsoever. But most likely because:
- Spotify is a product a lot of designers use every day, sometimes multiple hours a day
- Because of that much usage, everyone has had at least one moment of frustration (“oh, I wish this feature worked differently”)
- Spotify’s architecture is pretty straightforward in terms of defining key user flows and key screens
- Spotify is a big brand that every recruiter or hiring manager has heard of, making it easier to present the work without a lot of context setup needed
- Bonus: what if someone at Spotify actually sees my work and decides to hire me?!
While Spotify is a great product to practice your design skills, its popularity can make your redesign concept get lost in the midst of hundreds of other concept projects out there. Plus, Spotify has a pretty solid design team already — you can follow all their amazingness at spotify.design.
Next time you’re looking for a product to redesign for free, why not looking at companies and non-profit organizations that could actually use some design help?
Here are a few ideas:
- McDonald’s ordering kiosks
- The bank of your dreams
- The panel of your microwave
- An app to change a bad habit
- The teleprompter experience
- Mac OS Finder
- An ATM interface
- Your city’s website
- Your country’s tourism website
- The way you file your taxes
The first problem with these examples is that, because you don’t work for those companies, you will never really get a full picture of their product problem. Sure, you can do user research to understand what people want — but designing without any business constraints is unrealistic in our industry.
The second problem is that none of these will ever get implemented. Your case study will look shiny as a portfolio piece, but you might miss the opportunity to make a real impact in the world.
Well… unless you shift your focus and reach out to real organizations that are in need of web, graphic, or UX design work.
- Project-E: empowering Ethiopian women through education
- Central Florida Diaper Bank: providing single parents access to diapers, wipes, food, and clothing at no cost
- A Red Circle: focusing on holistic betterment of our community, reversing the effects of racism one person and cause at a time
- RRRComputer.org: changing the corporate culture to get a tax-deductible computer donation instead of sending useable computers to be recycled for parts
- UPchieve: providing underserved high school students with access to free, online, and on-demand tutoring and college counseling
- Boys2Men, Girls2Women: assisting children between the ages of 2–18 years of age in becoming productive members to society
- It Gets Better UK: envisioning a world where all LGBTQ+ youth are free to live equally and know their worthiness and power as individuals
- TES Youth: youth unemployment can only be tackled if individuals and organizations work together to defeat it and empower the younger generation
- Colorado Sierra Club: a powerful collective of changemakers working together to advance climate solutions, act for justice, get outdoors, and protect lands, water, air, and wildlife
- Project Love Coalition: helping homeless veterans and formerly homeless veterans
- Horses of Hope Oregon: improving the lives of people living with physical, emotional, and behavioral challenges through equine assisted programs
- Score: educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide
This is obviously a limited list (and it will get outdated fairly quickly), so…
- Charity Job
- Volunteer Match
- HandsOn Network
- Catch A Fire
- Design For America
- Design Global Change
- Design That Matters
- Linkedin Nonprofit
- Linkedin Job Search
- Changing the face of American politics
- Solving the transportation problem in India
- Designing an app to quit smoking
- Making memory loss easier for families
- Redesigning your ticket to see the stars
- Enterprise software system for animal welfare groups
- Community Kitchen landing page
- How to improve someone’s diet
- Helping refugees through mentoring
- Nappy: a digital solution to nap at work
- Changing our attitudes regarding homeless people
- Blu: helping women with infertility
- Researching family planning through proverbial Hausa
- Designing a better way to give
Hopefully, these examples will get you to think outside of your comfort zone the next time you’re choosing a case study to execute.