Congratulations for having made through the UX list. You are almost done, and hopefully you feel comfortable exploring the field of UX a little more by yourself now. In this article, we will list down some UX Project ideas that may be helpful for you to get started. At this point, you probably want to fill an empty portfolio and get into user research without too much risk or cost. Here’s a recipe you can follow:
- Download 10 professional apps in the app store. This will be even better if they are not the most common apps, but still good.
- Create a short list of tasks that can be achieved in each app.
- Find 5 people that are willing to give you some of their time. You don’t have to do this all at once. Spread it out — people are busy and have stuff to do
- Get each of the 5 people to try each of the 10 apps, and do the tasks you decided on.
- Do not help. Do not give them instructions. Even if they ask. Just tell them the goal of the task and say “go”. Allow them to fail and figure it out.
- Make notes. (Record a video if you can!)
- After, ask them about why they did things the way they did them. Write down the choices they made, the paths they took, and what they believed (whether it makes any sense or not.)
- Congratulations, you have now done 50 user interviews! If your first boss isn’t a UX designer, that’s probably more user interviews that they will have done in their career. But you’re not done yet.
- Review your notes/videos and see if you can find some common mistakes, misunderstandings, flawed expectations, inefficiencies, etc., i.e., look for problems that more than one user had in common. There is a good chance that part of the app can be improved.
- Make wireframes for all the solutions you can think of. There can be 100 different ways to solve a simple problem. If you make 2 wireframes to solve/improve something in each app you will have 20 wireframes.
- Make a portfolio where you treat each problem as a separate project. Explain the context, your research method, and your insights along with your solution (or solutions) for each set of wireframes. (More than one solution for a single problem is the reason we have A/B tests!)
Voila! You are now more experienced at UX than most people with a degree in HCI and you have a pretty solid portfolio to show for it. You’re the kind of intern or “first year” that would get invited to an interview without much thought, because obviously you care enough about UX and you understand what it takes to make designs user-friendly, and you’re smart enough to deliver.