50+ Inspiring Side Projects to Follow in 2016

Since my last post the One Side Project per Year Challenge (big thanks to Chad Grills for letting me publish this in the Life Learning publication), I was simply overwhelmed to see so many people saying “Love this. I’m in.” and “Your post finally convinced me to start that project that I have been successfully procrastinating on for a year.” If you haven’t read about this challenge yet, I strongly recommend you read this post first.

Since then, we’ve created a community, and here are 56 side projects we selected to feature in this publication over the year 2016. We organized them into 6 parts: apps and websites, creative content, educational content, social influence, games, and miscellaneous.

Part 1: Apps and Websites

Cyril Schmitt & Michael Sokol

The UX Shop — A curation of resources to craft delightful user experiences. Monthly interviews of top UX, Graphic Designers, Digital Doers.
[Newly Added]

Samantha Zhang, Designer @ Graphiq.com

Premade.io — A drag & drop webpage builder with thousands of pre-made content blocks. Aiming to be the LEGO of websites.

Dickon Kent, Founder of dsire.com and Loveslices

Loveslices — A virtual gardener that nurtures your romantic relationship.

Katherine Raz, Freelance Digital Marketing & SEO Consultant

HeyLittleEngine.com — A website that help you start & grow a mobile boutique business.

Malakas, Another jack of all trades wannabe in the web industry

An online platform that connects sellers and buyers in my local area.

Annie Zhang, CS @ Columbia

A web app that tells you if a movie passes the Bechdel test.

Sebastian DeLuca, BD @ Perfect Price

CareerCamp — Resources for modern young professionals.

James Tomlinson, Ideas & Sales @ Salesstacker.com

Salesstacker.com — a curated list of tools and resources for small sales teams and entrepreneurs looking to up their sales game.

Jesse Adametz, Data @ Graphiq.com

DollarCal — A calendar based view of your future finances.

Sam Wight, Teen meteor developer

Papercrane — a collaborative storytelling application that lets users create amazing and creative stories together.

Andre Paradis, Software Engineer

CommuteWith.Me — a ride sharing planning tool

Aniruddh Agarwal, Web Dev in Training

An app to help cut down on the newsletter noise and clutter in your inbox

Travis Wong, Product Geek & Coder @ Booksrific

An ebook reader app (iOS) + e-commerce platform (web) for books (digital, print) — and release them as an open-source project

Jonas Björklund, med student & creative thinker @ UMC Hamburg

An iOS app to guide you through your mornings and help set up good habits & routines.

Ruslan Maximov, iOS Developer @ HiQ

An app that provide dress up advice in accordance with current weather and forecast (UI/UX designer needed)

Gagan Deep, Coder and runner

A platform where you can find running groups around. It will also show which running group is most active and when do they plan to run next. It will also include tips by runners, admin panel for organizers etc.

Carol Miranda, Software engineering student

A personal trainer management web application.

Stephen Weber, Performance Engineer @ Jive Software

A personalized Twitter-like app that let you record things in a listable, searchable, tag-able format.

Anchit Jain, Geek

A movie recommendation and suggestion website to help you discover non popular movies.

Madhav Sharma

A Netflix-like subscription service for low budget movies and theatre acts.

Yomi Eluwande, Developer at Fusion

An invoicing web app for startups.

Limbu Bobi, Developer

An app that teaches you to learn a limbu language.

Tyler Morgan, UX intern at Owlet

A site or a newsletter that congregates all of the great internships in Utah

Jack, a student interested in building

Interesting & well-designed custom polls.

Sam Matthews, Part-time iOS developer

Build my first iOS app.

Part 2: Creative Content

Rachel D’Erminio, Designer & illustrator by day, author by night

An experimental animation about creativity and artist’s block. I hope to combine stop-motion, hand drawn and 3D animation techniques.

Iftakar Kaysar, Studio Assistant @ Stinkdigital

A Soundcloud page, produce music (Remixes, Originals, Mashups) and reach 10k Followers in 2016. Rock on!

Scott Korchinski, Music Producer

Release 12 original music tracks.

Will Dennis, Video & tech, ideally at the same time

A web series about being abroad when things go wrong. I shoot, edit, and release each episode in a single day every week, for a year.

Luke Pye, Digital Producer, web and UX design

A website that explores a trunk full of 16mm film created and left behind by my grandfather. The website will track the journey I will share with my father as we explore the cinematic treasures left behind and share the vision with for all interested.

Christoph Emch, Digital Consultant at Farner, and a friendly person

A blog about my dead grandfather, whom I never got to know. He was the only Jewish survivor of a little village in eastern Poland. There are fragments of his story found on the web, or told by my mother. Most of it is still blurry. I want to gather the pieces I can find. And put them together.

Ryan Chiles, Marketing @ Graphiq.com

Produce an EP that I can stand behind.

Ryan Colston

Create a visual dance album.

Ron, Student aspirant creator

Finish a draft of a children’s book.

Amit Singh, Web Designer and FrontEnd Web Developer

Launch my portfolio website.

Rashedul Kabir, ICT4D Specialist at BRAC Social Innovation Lab

Build a profile as an author.

Fred Esere, Problem solver & lifelong learner

Read 52 books in the year 2016, and write 500 words every fortnight.

Ethan Lo, Photographer

Upload a vlog every week.

Ann Pierce, Co-founder and CEO @ PhotoFeeler.com

Publish a fiction novel.

Stacey W., Business Developer

Write a novel.


Publish a novel.

Part 3: Educational Content

Ian O’Byrne, Assistant Professor of Literacy Education at the College of Charleston

Building up a class (and then a series of classes) to help make educators “experts” in the use of digital and web literacies in instruction.

Sagar Mehta, Artist, Writer, and CTO

Passionative.co — A weekly podcast talking about creativity, inspiration and the challenges of following your passion.

Emma Humphries, Project management, taxonomizing your bugs, shoegaze and power pop

Adventuresinrenaming.net — A project to help make social platforms name-agnostic, leading to friendlier software that doesn’t go crazy when you change your name.

Matt Sydeworks, Creative Content Hacker

Creative Content Hacking — an online course on a marketing framework

Michael Gasiorek, Editor @ Startup Grind

An online course detailing the 80/20 of lifestyle hacks in one’s body, mind, behaviors, and tribe aimed at entrepreneurs and ambitious young people.

Part 4: Social Influence

Chas Alamo, Peace Corps Volunteer in Peruvian Andes

Peace Corps Doors — Getting peace corps volunteers from around the world to share simple beautiful photos of their front doors.

Paul Steckler, Formerly builder of things, in gap year now

Whalesight.com — Bring together marine mammal experts and casual enthusiasts to help keep oceans healthy.

Jan Smejkal, young entrepreneur from the Czech Republic tackling challenges in China. Co-Director @StartupGrind & Campus Director @HultPrize

A podcast about & with Chinese / Asian entrepreneurs & influencers.

Part 5: Games

Pat, Everything at meatrobot.io

Catchphrase meets Cards Against Humanity. The ultimate party game for people who love competing with their wits.

Penny, Game Developer

A point and click adventure game with seven locations.

Tiantian Xu, UX Designer, UMich Alumni, Doodler, Coffee Lover, Video Gamer

Design and build a game.

Part 6: Miscellaneous

Anna Sircova, Independent researcher, photographer, event organizer, creative thinker and doer

Celebrating Time — A cross-disciplinary and cross-media event about the concept of time in August 2016 in Copenhagen, Denmark. We aim to build some bridges between academia, entrepreneurs and arts and launch some collaborative projects on the cross-roads of different areas.

Shu Ding, Student web developer in Shanghai

Finish 100 Days UI Challenge with React and Less, and make these components re-useable.

Sophie Exintaris, UX Architect & #seamstressSophie

A Wordpress theme for my blog. To be released to the public in the future.

Nirant Kasliwal, Life long student from BITS Pilani, India

Publish 1 notebook for data science project every month.

Rayna Harris, Scientist, Enabler, Teacher

Create a science inspired pattern for spoon flower, the create stuff with my pattern

Keep in mind that both the idea of the One Side Project per Year Challenge and all the side projects listed here are in very early stage. This challenge is not for everyone — many mentioned that a year might be too long to validate an idea, or what if you meet a dead-end, etc. We are just a group of enthusiastic makers trying to do this as an experiment, and we will record this whole process and reflect upon it as a community as we build those projects — projects that matter to us.

All the makers and writers here would be giving their monthly updates in this publication throughout the year 2016— strategies taken, progress made, lesson learned and more. We are not too sure about how many of us will make it to the end, or how many of the projects here will “make it”. But, we think regardless of the outcome, the recording of this process would provide tremendous value to our fellow side project crafters and entrepreneurs. Follow us follow us to stay posted! :)

We are also creating a slack community to keep in close contact, share our resources, and keep each other accountable. Currently, we are just inviting all the side project makers listed here. But if you want to be part of the community, just find your project or find a convincing reason and send me a direct message @moyicat. We are in an exploratory stage and we welcome all good ideas and like-minded makers/writers/creators.

And lastly, give this article a 💚 recommend if you enjoy reading it, so more people can find out more about the amazing stuff people are creating in 2016…