Once every few months I'll take some app that I use, or a website of somebody I like, try to improve it and then send it to the creator / owner. A lot of my work came about because I did that and got attention of a future customer.
I like the thinking behind this article. I have been trying to do similar things in my spare time to broaden my horizons, as I tend to work on the same kind of apps all day.
What do you guys think about the 'etiquette' of sending an unsolicited redesign to companies? I guess it depends how you word the email, and whether you are trying to quite obviously sell them a redesign, or if you're genuinely interested in working with someone to improve their product/service.
I would think that money would be a big issue when it comes to this kind of stuff, if you are redesigning an identity for a small store or service, they might not immediately see the value of spending money on design. Coming across as a 'hard-seller' would be my concern in that situation.
Interested to hear if anyone here as ever worked with people out of an unsolicited redesign.
I think it would be especially hard for something like a dental software company to take an unsolicited redesign. There's a myriad of patents, contracts, regulations, and software engineering specifications that go into adding a few buttons here and there.
That's not to say that they wouldn't be interested in the design; it's just the logistics of even thinking of working with the designer and implementing it that could get hairy.
This is very true, good point. I would also assume that it would be hard to get a grip on the real bones of a product by looking at a few screenshots. To use the dental software example, there's tons of stuff on that screenshot that I don't have a clue what it means, and I'm sure there's plenty of options not visible too.
I suppose, to really rework and redesign a product, a designer needs to have full access to and understand all the workings of a product. I think this is a reason why a lot of 'redesigns' we see floating around are failures, because they haven't taken into account so much of the invisible stuff - like you said, the patents, regulations etc.
The redesign could become a point of entry into discussions I think, but it will very rarely be able to solve any real problems.
Spot on. It will always take a thoughtful, thorough process to get everything right, but in these cases the bar is very low and even just a visual refresh can make a big difference and set the direction for bigger changes. I think there's also the effect that a great vision to work towards can be super motivating, even if things may slightly change along the way.
I got my second job with an unsolicited redesign of the tutorial. I think what's important is that you actually care about the product (it's rarer than you think) and that you want to work there to make it better, not just end the relationship at the redesign handoff.
Nice insight, thanks. That's very true what you say, I think really caring about the product will shine through in any interview or discussion setting, and the initial redesign could potentially help to get the 'foot in the door'.
That Dentimax interface is scary
This guy has a really good point, especially when it comes to open source. One project I'd love to take on is a redesign of phpMyAdmin. It's such a clunky and hard to understand yet widely used application.
Edit: Any other open-source apps that you want to see redesigned?
I find the POS credit card reader at grocery stores to be awful. I've always wanted to redesign those.
Redesigning B2B apps is a particularly interesting challenge, because there needs to be a very concrete business reason to justify paying money to redesign the system. If you are just redesigning it because it looks ugly, and you think employees deserve to look at something nice and enjoyable to use, they will tell you, and rightfully so, that's it's not worth the money.
I always thought it would be fun to redesign a POS system. But I would need to prove that my redesign would save them money. Examples:
- This redesign will cut training time by x%.
- This redesign will cut checkout time by x%.
- This redesign will reduce user error by x%.
Being able to say those things would give a justifiable business reason for a redesign. And solving those problems would make a redesign all the more fun.
This is not to say that B2C apps don't need a concrete business reason as well to justify a redesign, it's just that often times with B2B apps the customer isn't actually the user. Example of a POS system the owner of the grocery store is the customer, the employee is the user.
There's a few startup ideas in that article...