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A simple way to grow your portfolio and show a little bit of goodwill

October 27, 2020

I often get asked the following question.

What should I include in my portfolio?

This is a question that is tough to answer when you're starting. We all struggled with it at the start of our design adventures. And the reason we struggled with it is we wanted to demonstrate our skills, but we hadn't worked on many - if any - projects.

There are a few options you can take to grow your portfolio, such as the following:

  • The Daily UI Design.
  • Side projects.
  • Unsolicited redesigns of popular apps and websites.

I'm not going to provide points to why you should or shouldn't do the above - there are plenty of arguments for them if you do a little searching.

But I do want to show you a simple way to increase the number of projects in your portfolio while you can provide a little good to those who need help.

I was recently in the market to buy a fixie for basically arsing about around home. I'm currently a roadie, so I've got a few bikes lying around, but no fixies and I was something that wasn't a piece of crap so to speak. Anyway, a mate recommended a site, so I went to their site to take a look. 🤨

The original site
The original site

I decided to redesign the homepage quickly (less than 1 hour) to improve the experience so that the independent guys can stick it to the more giant online retailers.

The redesigned version of the homepage
The 1 hour redesigned version of the homepage

Once completed, I sent them an email with the designs and a few tips to help them along the way. Now a few of you might be wondering the following;

Why would you do that?

The answer is simple; a lot of small companies are struggling to survive. And if a single hour of my time can help a company turn things around then isn't that a good thing to do? I think so, and here is why.

The coronavirus has forced many of us to rethink the way we live our lives; a lot has changed. Retailers who primarily focused on physical stores are now having to adjust to creating digital stores to survive quickly.

The problem is most of these small companies are often just a team of a few people, none of which have much digital experience and are just trying to survive. Well, the web is a competitive place, dominated by major companies who are well versed to digital and have the resources to handle the demand

So as I see it, most of these companies don't need help with their websites and apps. It is the small companies who have just thrown up a WordPress site or asked a family member "who is good at computers" to do it.

These are companies that need a little help in pointing them in the right direction. Spend your time doing unsolicited redesigns for these instead of the bigger tech companies and popular apps.

So the next time you're looking to add some projects to your portfolio, take a lookout for those sites that need help. Those sites that look terrible, are tough to use and are independent.

Spend an hour redesigning their homepage or providing them with tips to improve accessibility. And make sure to send it on to them to show a bit of goodwill.

Providing a little help from time to time is a good thing to do. And you can add something meaningful to your portfolio at the same time.


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