Should I Keep Doing These UI Challenges?

Ciera Maddox
4 min readOct 25, 2020


So here I am. Week two of my official job search after graduating from Flatiron School, meeting the needs of my career counselor and optimistically diving head first into these weekly design challenges.

I enjoy them very much, I do, but after reading a blog about the ineffectiveness of UI design challenges by Danny Sapio, my confidence began to waver.

His concerns were primarily in the lack of continuity and sticking-it-out factors that is typically required of the design process. Product designers aren’t simply designing an onboarding sequence and then moving on to an entirely unrelated task on an unrelated project. They move through the process all the way from research to testing, with many stops along the way.

So, no. I’m not sure I want to continue these design challenges but yes, I likely will. After all, I do have to meet the needs of my career counselor. It sure does take a lot of effort to deny the design process and focus only on one standalone piece. Questions about the challenge circle around my brain, why am I designing this? Who are the users? How is this helping anyone?

That said, I turned those questions off and completed another design challenge.

DailyUI gave a really intriguing prompt that I thought I would go for.

The Challenge

“Design a music player. Consider the controls, placements, imagery such as the artist or album cover, etc. Also, consider the device type that’s playing the music. A dashboard in a tourbus, a smartwatch, or via a web browser. Each device type will have different requirements, features, and restrictions to consider.”

This may come as a surprise, so brace yourselves — I love music. Most of my life is spent listening to some form of it. It was a pretty fundamental part of my upbringing and big part of my identity. I spent countless hours perusing through record shops, writing on the backs of my hands the names of bands I planned on checking out, going to local shows any chance I could get.

Empire Records

What fascinates me most is how technology has impacted the way music is accessed. Now you can find bands similar to the ones you already like with the click of a button, or better yet, automatically added to playlists. I mean, hardly any work goes into finding music now. It’s both devastating and amazing at the same time.

Spotify’s Tailored Recommendations

I use many different digital music players and have no qualms with them. In fact, I’ve grown quite fond of their basic layout and organization, so when I was tasked with thinking up innovative ways of reinventing music players I was stumped. So rather than reinventing, I thought I would toy with the idea of throwing it back and paying tribute to the 16 year old version of myself.

Or at the very least, try.

Sketch It Out

As always, I took the ol’ pen and paper approach to ideation and came up with some concepts marrying digital music platforms and brick and mortar record shops.

Playing With Color

I couldn’t settle on just one color palette, so I played around with peach/pink, deep blue/mustard yellow and bright blue/green/yellow.

Mood boards: Peach | Cerulean | Lime

Early Concepting

First Attempt At Record Bins

As it turned out, the idea I had didn’t visually translate well. Instead of forcing something that didn’t feel right. Perhaps I can spend more time developing this concept, because I really like the idea. I just need to work on executing it properly. The reality is, this is a UI challenge, and I am once again swerving into UX territory. That certainly isn’t a bad thing, but for the purpose of this challenge, I thought perhaps I should channel that energy into the visual design.