Chris Alvarez
Sep 13, 2015 · 4 min read

If you’re looking to break into Experience Design, the thing you might be stressing about the most is your portfolio — and for good reason! The portfolio is your single-most valuable tool for communicating your process, experience, approach and output as an Experience designer to a potential employer.

The problem though, is that it’s tough to articulate your process and showcase your work if you haven’t been on a project. So, the best way to go about it is through a pseudo-project. Take one of the examples below, and have fun with it. Use it as a platform to get creative and build towards a solution.

Veggie-Garden Planner


A major garden-supply store has come to you asking for help designing a digital product that will help generate new customers and drive sales.

The concept they’d like to pursue is called (for now) the “Veggie Garden Planner.” This product is meant to help amateur backyard gardeners decide what to plant in their gardens. It will take into consideration the climate zone, available garden space and current growing season. It will also allow for additional info to be captured such as soil type, sun intensity and amount of time the gardener is willing to spend caring for the plants.

Your job is to take this concept and design a simple prototype that can be presented at a garden show next spring.



With pretty much every person carrying a phone, and every phone featuring a highly-capable camera, there are billions of photos being generated every day. There is also a crazy assortment of photo-storage services that exist and they all promise to make organizing, sharing, and storing photos much easier. However, this hasn’t worked in reality.

AllThePix is a small startup that is seeking to solve this issue by offering a complete solution which includes a clever backend solution for storage, organization and sharing of photos and videos. While the AllThePix team prides themselves on their technical skills, they need to help building a product people will actually use. They just hired YOU — their first UX Designer — to build an experience that crosses multiple platforms and accommodates the complex demands of their target customer.



Your local bus system just received a huge grant and has decided to invest a large portion of it into realtime, precise GPS tracking monitors for their 248 busses. Using these monitors, they’d like to provide their customers with realtime location data and schedule updates through a mobile app called LiveTransit.

For the past 3 months, their dev team has been working on building the API, but they need some help figuring out the right structure for it. What data does a rider need to see? How frequently does the data need to refresh? How can a ride be assured a late bus will still arrive?

Your job is to do some research, and uncover insights that will help the dev team solidify the API and prepare the back-end systems for alpha prototyping which starts in 4 weeks. Feel free to make UI Design recommendations, but focus on the product above the implementation.

Lazy Lend


Yes, people still check out books from the library. In this age of instant-gratification however, people don’t want to have to worry about due dates and the burdensome pickup and return of their books. Lazy Lend thinks they have solved this problem with their library book courier service.

Lazy Lend has hired your company, a UX design agency, to design an app that will allow someone to request a courier to pickup their books from the library on their behalf. The promise of Lazy Lend is “your books, delivered in an hour or less.” With this in mind, you must also consider the interface the couriers will use when receiving pickup requests.

Hint: Think about this product as a system: The borrower, the courier, the library, the apps, the backend, etc.

I hope these have been helpful! If you have suggestions for other pseudo-projects, let me know and I may include them here.

re : iteration

A collection of stories, tips, reviews, encouragement and advice for those who are transitioning to or are in the field of UX Design.

Chris Alvarez

Written by

I design human experiences. Currently leading a design team working to make safer drivers and smarter vehicles. Co-founder of

re : iteration

A collection of stories, tips, reviews, encouragement and advice for those who are transitioning to or are in the field of UX Design.

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