Interfaces in need
Facebook doesn’t need your design help. But there are many other companies that do.
Spending a little time in the interaction design field, and you’ll undoubtedly come across some really amazing concept redesigns of Facebook, Instagram or iOS7 (just search Behance for “redesign”). It can be a lot of fun to take a product you use and love, put your own spin on it, and sharpen your skills.
The thing is, those products are already amazing and those companies already have super-talented designers. And 95% of all other companies don’t. So what I’d personally love to see are different types of redesign concepts of interfaces that have never received much love. They are all around us and ripe for the picking. Let’s look at some examples.
Dentimax is one of the most popular software packages for dental offices. I’m sure it’s a very useful and well thought-out tool, but it’s pretty obvious that a competent designer could make a big difference in this experience.
AccuPos is popular point-of-sale software for restaurants and retail stores. Imagine how different this could look even if you just clean up the typography, color palette, and visual hierarchy.
I used my banks ATM yesterday, and it looked like this image above. Imagine the difference you could make even in just one hour.
I found those screens above by some quick Google image searches for “dental office software”, “restaurant software”, and “atm”. It’s even easier if you type in “popular dental office software”. You’ll find websites with reviews that show you right away which ones are popular in the respective industries, and how people like them. So just pick an industry and see what the standard is.
The open-source route
Another approach is to look at popular open-source projects and see if you could make a difference. Nginx is one of the most popular web servers, its site has an Alexa rank of 5,576, so clearly lots and lots of people use it. It’s also even less styled than Craiglist, and I’m sure many people would love to have a nicer reading experience when working through the documentation and user guide.
There was recently a discussion on Hacker News about Twicsy. The site gets 6 million monthly visitors, but its creator is not comfortable with design and front-end development. He also admits that the site could gain a lot from a redesign and is very interested in having somebody help out. What a great opportunity to get your design implemented and in front of millions of people.
There is a lot to do
As I mentioned, Facebook, Twitter and iOS 7 already are amazing. While tweaking the icon of the Photos app might make a small difference, there are so many ways to make a bigger difference. And I’m sure many companies that don’t have the expertise in-house would be interested in working with (and paying) pro-active designers in upping the quality of their products.
Recently I did a very quick redesign concept of software for the quality analysis of welding processes for my family’s business. It was a very quick exercise to kick-off a long-term process, but it already got a lot of people excited because it was a fresh approach and solved some big information architecture issues. I bet there are lots of opportunities like this.