A practical career approach for generalist designers
There are as many career approaches as there are designers, but this is what I’d recommend to a new designer.
- Do a small research and design project:
- Find out why people use your local government’s website.
- Test the website with people to see how easy it is to do those things. Note down all of the problems.
- Pick the biggest one and design a new page/flow.
- Test the new design with new people to see if you’ve improved it.
- Find real projects on websites that match skilled people with charities, e.g. Catchafire and Do IT.
- Give design help to an open source project. You can find projects that need design help on Open Source Design.
- Make your portfolio beautiful. First impressions count, and your portfolio is a design project as well.
- Put as much detail in your case studies as you want. But make sure that someone who skims through a case study in 30 seconds understands what you did and what impact it had.
- Post beautiful work often on a major social network. People are impressed by beautiful work.
- Explain interface design concepts for other new designers.
- Respond to designers you like with genuine questions. Not all of them will answer.