Advice on design for volunteer work


Hi All! I’m brand new to UX but I have been reading a lot about it over the past month. I’d like to take on a UX project of my own, just to see what I can learn from it.

I have in mind to redesign a website for a local school in my area, as I can see a lot of UX challenges with their current site.

I’m not even sure how to phrase my question, but here goes: If I provide a design to someone who has no development skills, how do they normally implement it? Should I be offering development as well as design (ie teaching them how to implement my ideas)?
Would the school take my design to a developer and have them implement it? How does it normally work when you are providing design solutions to a volunteer organisation, who wouldn’t have money to spend on development?

Thanks. :slight_smile:


Unfortunately, I think my answer is a resounding, “it depends.”

I think the very first step would be to approach them to find out if they are interested. Then you’d take steps to find out the rest of the information you need.

In this case, I imagine they would be look for a developer that is willing to donate their time and expertise to their organization.

I know that is vague, but I hope it helps a bit.


That does help, thanks. :slight_smile:



I think you should only consider doing this type of work, if there is a high change of the design changes being implemented. I find people will happily accept some free UX/Design advice, but if its going to cost them time or money to make development changes, it may never happen.

One way around this, especially with smaller sites, or a school, is to also include doing the dev changes. Find out how their website was created, if it’s built in Wordpress or similar and you feel you could comfortably make the necessary changes, then you could offer that also. This will allow you showcase and end to end solution.

Of you might need to build up a relationship with the developer or IT person internally who can make the changes. These people may be delighted to have someone help improve the Usability and Design as might not be their area or expertise.

Ideally if they also have some way of measuring changes, such as google analytics, and you can show a positive improvement through your changes. Then you can have a real validated successful project to showcase.

Good luck,



Thanks Paddy, you make a good point about the client not accepting design they can’t implement themselves. Do you think there is value in me working on the project, even if the design won’t be implemented? I need hands-on experience and this seems like a good way to get it, if I can convince them to give me feedback.


Absolutely, if you want the practice and have the time.


Absolutely yes.

Don’t get me wrong, doing these type of projects is great. It can be a super way to showcase your skills and processes.

But try and get something, that will also show a finished project, just so your portfolio doesn’t end full of theoretical work.


Hi @Christie

Here is a 100% virtual project by one of our community members: It will probably never be implemented, but she did an excellent job researching and designing this project. Working on an abstract project is super valuable for practicing and showcasing your skills.

Of course, it is better to have a real product with real statistics. But I’m afraid the school won’t have a developer. You could try to find a developer yourself. You could suggest IT students or graduates to take it as a school project; they often need something to practice and to showcase as well.