You want to find your design niche!
Okay, but where do you start?
Knowing the first step can help you pick up some momentum in this otherwise messy process?
Unfortunately… most designers don’t know where to start, due to no fault of their own.
No one is teaching this in design schools or online courses.
Everyone is focusing on other stuff
- How to use design tools
- Design theory
So, today I’ll cover the first step of finding and picking your design niche.
There are 3 main ways you can start this process and make a decision.
1. Based on past projects
2. Based on personal interests
3. Based on market demand.
Let’s start with a decision based on past projects.
Here’s how, step by step:
Step 1: List past projects
List all significant projects you’ve done.
Big, small, from your full-time job, from freelance work.
You can do it with Notion, Google Sheets, plain text or on paper. Don’t try to filter, and list everything that comes to mind.
This is your column one: project name.
Step 2: Choose your score criteria
In separate columns, you list the criteria you are going to use to evaluate your past projects.
There are a few obvious ones:
Payment — how well you got paid to do it
Client satisfaction — how well it was received by the client
Ease of delivery — how easy it was for you to do the work
Enjoyment — how much you enjoyed this project
If there is something else that is important for you about a project, feel free to add it as well. For example, ease of client communication. If you like to work and find it easy to talk to clients, you can add that.
These are the next few columns for your project review matrix.
Step 3: Score your projects
Use a 1 to 7 scoring scale.
Why go to 7 and not up to 10? Well, just trust me on this one.
So here is an example: the highest-paid project will get 7 as a Payment score and the lower ones will get 1. And so on with all the rest of the scoring criteria.
Bear in mind this is not hard science, so don’t overthink it. The goal of this exercise is to help you notice things that you might be missing jumping from project to project.
Create a TOTAL score column where you calculate the total sum of all scoring criteria.
Step 4: Evaluate results
Did you get any clear winners by using this scoring?
Can you spot any similarities between them?
- Type of Market: Crypto, Healthcare, E-Commerce and so on
- Client size: small, mid-size, large
- Platform: IOS, Android, Web, cross-platform
- Product maturity: early-stage, growing, mature.
If there is a clear pattern, you could use this as a base for your first niche hypothesis that you can research further to decide if it’s a good niche for you.
Here is a Notion Template you can duplicate and add your own projects to get started.
But what if your results are all over the place and there is no clear pattern? Well, in this case, you have to consider other criteria like personal interest or market demand.
So that’s your first step in finding your UI/UX design niche.
If you did the exercise and you have some questions, you can leave them in the comments and I will try to help you.