TUT #31: Doing unsolicited design others care about, lessons from reviewing 573 portfolios and designing for time.

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click a link and make a purchase, we receive a commission. This is at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting our ad-free site!

New UXers on our Facebook group and email are always asking “what are the best UX courses & training available?” I put together a new curated list of the best free & paid UX courses. Try sorting by cost and category. I’ll be adding images and some more details to this page as time goes on :)

_ _ _

Let’s say you want to do a new UX project to add to your portfolio, but not from scratch. So you do a redesign of an existing product. Easy, right? This article explains How to Do an Unsolicited Design That People Care, including how to strategically choosing a product (consider one that’s NOT from a big company with a mature design team) and calling out assumptions in the case study.

  • Highlight: “In my Medium Claps article, I assumed that the team had already thought about my solution. I talked about why they may not have done it the way I designed, and provided possible UX and business reasons. People appreciated that perspective.”

Speaking of portfolios, this design chief reviewed 573 portfolios and shared his main likes & gripes. The main takeaway? Good looking visuals are assumed, the starting bar. What actually sets designers apart is highlighting design stories through what the problems are and the UX methods used to solve them.

  • Highlight: “I rarely judge people based on their design decisions. I simply don’t have the time to understand your project deep enough for that. If I see that you considered many options and you made a conscious, well thought-out decision, I will just think you might be a great designer.:

This fascinating article about time explores the brief history of time, timezones, and the edge cases of designing time-aware software.

  • Highlight: Samoa didn’t have December 30, 2011. They went straight from December 29 to December 31, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.


Should you require starting a name with a capital letter in a form? This conversation highlights the struggle that can arise between designer & developer. Though the language is harsh, I agree with the “path of least resistance approach.”

  • Highlight: “Get rid of the ridiculous character count limitation and accept whatever form of casing the user provides. If you wish to correct the casing at some point on the front end you can use JavaScript or text-transform in CSS. Users are generally dumb, lazy and rebellious. Don’t ever trust them to enter information correctly.”

_ _ _

🏁Career Coaching Corner: To stand out as a designer – heck, a professional in any field – requires more  marketing and personal branding than before. Blogging is an easy way to build an authority online. Even if your articles don’t go viral, they can go a long way in demonstrating passion and expertise in your field.


Keep learning,
Oz, founder @ UXBeginner, instructor @ UX School

liked this article? tell everyone!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.