Creating a fictitious UX project


Hi guys,
I’m contemplating taking on a fictitious project to ad to my portfolio. I have one in mind using an existing business that I’m familiar with and redesigning their website particularly the customer interaction points.
Although I don’t know the business owners, I feel to be authentic I should approach them and get them on board, or at the very least get their OK.
Anybody got good tips on how to approach this, or should I just to carry on as its a fictitious project.


I love this idea! I go looking for projects outside of work all the time for my blog or to satisfy my own curiosity. I would approach them because you never know what you’re going to find and they might benefit from what you discover! I picked up several issues with a perfume sales website a few months ago and I just emailed them. They called me back the next day- they were eager to understand the experience I had and wanted my advice. A few days later the changes were made to the website and the experience has greatly improved :slight_smile: What’s the worst that can happen when you approach them? They say no? That’s ok, then I’d go with a fictitious project but at least try first :slight_smile:

Good luck :slight_smile:


I reckon ask them for sure. They’ll probably be stoked. If they say no you can always change the name and info so that it’s not going to be recognised.


Yeah that’s a tough one.

If it was me, I’d probably go ahead and do a redesign, and then show them before showing the world. This conversation can help you in a few ways:

  1. they may provide additional context around why design decisions had been made, which would help you to understand the problem better
  2. they may be very risk-averse, and not like the very idea that you would do this. Good to know when weighing up your decision of whether to publish it online or not (I’m an upstart, so I probably would go ahead and do so anyway, but that’s me …)
  3. they may really like what you’ve done and offer to buy your work/expertise/input on developing it further

Hope that helps.


I think redesigns for large businesses are commonplace, for instance the Facebook redesign that everybody was talking about last year - - Earlier in the week I also read this story - - I’d also like to share an article I found on about the girl who tested her paper prototype for a redesign of (Foursquare? Starbucks?) but can’t find it…

For me I see no harm in unsolicited redesigns. Some thoughts here:



I think that’s a cool idea. I don’t see the problem with letting them know about it. It is none of their business what you do professionally, but since you are considering publishing this in your portfolio it would be wise to have their blessing. And I would phrasing as just that. Maybe write them a nice letter telling them why you chose to sample their business for this pseudoproject, and that you’d like their blessing. Who knows, if they’re cool about it they might actually employ you to implement your proposed redesign :slight_smile:

In any case, it would be great if you could follow up with us and let us know how that goes. I’d be interested to know how this works out for you.

All the best, @narekk


Hi guys, Thanks for all the tips.
I reckon i’ll work away without contacting them until I get some roughs and wireframes and then I might drop in to them.


Check out my latest article on inspiring UX portfolios. One of them has an awesome example of a fictitious project.