Should designers help out during a pandemic?

October 1, 2021
 Min Read

UX Almusal Episode 5 Recap

Episode 5 talks about what designers are doing to fight COVID-19. From launching a list of donation drives to creating a directory of shuttle routes, it’s evident that designers, along with people from various disciplines, are embodying the spirit of collaboration. The episode also gives tips on how displaced designers can improve their portfolios and find their next jobs.

Here are 3 lessons from Episode 5:

🌐 Lesson 1: Despite the pandemic, people have been finding ways to help each other in these uncertain times. 

Most people may have been quarantined at home during the pandemic, but that doesn’t stop certain groups from helping the community cope with the devastating impact of COVID-19. Below are some initiatives that several groups have spearheaded.

Dashboard Philippines

Dashboard Philippines is a free web and mobile-based platform that lets Filipinos view open establishments, available shuttle routes, donation centers, and hospitals on a map. Developed by a fully-Filipino grassroots team, Dashboard Philippines collects data from trusted sources and integrates the data in one dashboard. 

Help From Home 

Designed by And A Half Design Studio, Help From Home is an information hub that lists initiatives from institutions that support frontliners and families affected by COVID-19. As the name implies, Help From Home empowers people who are able to stay at home to help those who aren’t. is a website and mobile app that provides commuting directions in Metro Manila. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has included a shuttle service directory only for frontliners in its app. The app is handy frontliners because it shows them shuttle schedules and stops in Metro Manila. 


RapidPass is an online identification system that lets frontliners and authorized personnel pass through checkpoints easily. With RapidPass, people can fast-track inspections at checkpoints by flashing their unique QR codes. The project is led by a non-profit organization called Developers Connect Inc. (DevCon), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT). 

Makers Festival

Makers Festival is an initiative by Product Hunt, a website where people can discover and share new products. For the past several years, it encourages people to design, build, and ship products in a short span of time. This year’s festival, however, focuses on relief efforts for the COVID-19 pandemic. Any related ideas are welcome, whether it’s a self-quarantine book club on Slack or a website that lets you buy gift cards to support local restaurants. 

Help with COVID

Help with COVID contains projects people can volunteer for, a directory of over 15,000 volunteers around the world, as well as a repository of upcoming online events and recorded live panels. It also has a Discord community of over 3632 members.


Glimpse is a website that shows you not so obvious trends brought about by COVID-19. By analyzing consumer behavior signals around the web and surfacing topics with growing or declining popularity, Glimpse helps businesses identify market trends and launch products just before they become popular. 

Modern Day Jobs

Modern Day Jobs shows a curated list of over 100 ways to make money online. Some resources on the list include websites where you can earn money by answering surveys, doing virtual assistant work, and tutoring students online. You can also submit a resource through its submission form. 

Amazing Design People List

If you’ve been laid off and are on the lookout for jobs, Amazing Design People List is a useful resource for you to check out. Not only will you have access to a directory of over 300 design jobs, but you can also add yourself to the list of designers who are looking for jobs. The website also lets you reach out to more than 400 design mentors and have them review your portfolio. 

💬 Lesson 2: If you’re looking for a job in this pandemic, it’s best to reach out to your existing network of designers.

This is the time to make use of your connections, especially if you’ve been laid off. Reach out to fellow designers and ask if they know of any jobs openings. Better yet, leverage on LinkedIn and relevant Facebook groups. You can create a post saying you just got laid off and are looking for a job. Chances are, someone will like your post, which will then be shared with the person’s network. And who knows? Maybe someone will see your post and reach out to you with a job opportunity. 

📔 Lesson 3: What you put in your portfolio is what will or will not make you stand out among a pool of applicants.

What you include in your portfolio could either make or break your chances of getting hired. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to every single detail in your portfolio, from the way you write your case studies to the way you position yourself as a designer. When done correctly, your portfolio can help you stand out from a homogenous pool of applicants. Here are some tips on how you can make your portfolio stand out: 

  • Show only 3-6 of your best works in your portfolio. 
  • The works you include should represent what you want to do more of. For example, if you want to be a product designer, then show 3 product design projects. If you want to be seen as a generalist, then include one case study for a web app, another for a mobile app, and the last for a marketing website. 
  • You can structure your case studies by including your process, the final output, and the outcome of your project. 
  • Show what it’s like working with you. Are you the one facilitating? Or are you the one synthesizing information? 
  • How you think about your design decisions will make you more distinct from everyone else in the market.
  • Make sure there are no grammatical errors in your portfolio. 
  • Don’t just present a clean version of your case study. Give examples of the challenges you faced and how you addressed them. Chances are, companies are also facing the same problems you struggled with. In the event that you get hired at the company, you’ll already know how to deal with these challenges. This makes you valuable to the company you’re joining. 

About UX Almusal

Listen in on discussions about UX, product design, and life from two hungry designers cooking their way to make sense of a messy design world.

Conversations over breakfast may include — product design breakdowns, building design organizations, self-improvement as a designer, and stuff you probably should listen in on if you want to level up as a designer.

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