The best investment one can make is in themselves. From running a weekly UX newsletter to teaching a prototyping tool, I'm a big fan of side projects. Side projects have taught me new skills, given me new challenges and let me explore new ways to be creative. Here are some of my favorite projects I've worked on.
Every day, I read design articles on the latest trends, tools, resources, and tips. For every great article, there are twenty mediocre ones. I always wished there was one place to go to see the must-read content. Since it didn't exist at the time, I set out to create it.
Inspired by other curated emails, I wanted one dedicated to user experience design. So in September 2014, I started UX Design Weekly. Each week, I spend a few hours reading, curating, and putting together an issue with the best UX articles, tools, resources, and more.
Today, I've sent close to 200 issues and have over 23k subscribers. The project was voted the #1 Product on the Day on ProductHunt and has been on many best newsletter lists. Some of the biggest companies in design have sponsored the newsletter.
What keeps me going is knowing that others in the design community find it useful. Every so often, I'll get an email from a subscriber letting me know how much they enjoy the newsletter. This side project has helped me learn new skills, keep me updated on the latest trends and fuel my passion for design.
When Framer first came out, I had heard great reviews so I wanted to give it a shot. I ended up writing a beginner's tutorial that was well received. A few months later, I got an email from O'Reilly Media inquiring if I was interested in creating a video course on Framer.
I spent the next month planning, writing and recording everything to know about the prototyping tool. In total, there were over 90 videos edited down to 5 hours of content with many examples and practice files.
Rapid Prototyping with Framer released in July 2015. I have since received many thanks from designers all over the world who I've helped teach the tool to.
One of the best ways to learn is to teach. Creating the course not only helped me to become an expert in the tool but taught me what it takes to put together a video course. While it's not exactly the same as writing a book, I never imagined that I would one day be an O'Reilly author.
As a UX designer, I’ve worked on the UX and visual design for a few different mobile apps. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to be on the other side and actually develop an app.
I immersed myself in everything I could find about developing iOS apps - books, video courses, tutorial sites, and more. The app I developed and designed was a Dribbble design inspiration app called Posterized.
Posterized was one of the first apps to use the Dribbble API and was featured on their blog. The app got over 10,000 downloads and over a 4-star review. At the time, people considered it the best Dribbble client because of its simplicity and design.
The app was eventually removed when I could no longer support it. Despite that, I was able to learn some of the challenges developers face when developing an app. It helped me collaborate with engineers. The project helped me grow as a designer and taught me what it takes to launch an app from beginning to end.