In a world of creatives, talent and competition it is important to stand out from the crowd. Regardless of your education, the best way display your abilities is your portfolio – quality of your past work, and the way you present it.

A good UX portfolio is more than just a presentation of final mockups, employers want to see your approach and design-thinking for any given project, and more importantly, they want to see RESULTS.

There are plenty of tools out there that will allow you to showcase your work and make it look professional, however, the contents of the portfolio is what will help you stand out. Your portfolio goes on interviews without you– it represents you so, be sure to include your credibility (who you have worked for), experience (the work you have done) and accomplishments (the end results).

The most common problem that disqualifies most UX design portfolios is the fact they don’t present the problem that was solved and the decisions that were made along the way.

There are 3 main topics that are evaluated in interviews:

1. Quality of execution
2. Clarity in decision-making
3. Results

Below, I go through a set of guidelines that will help you tell your story and hopefully land your dream job. The points below are gathered from the positive and negative feedback I received from job interviews and freelance pitches.

The design-thinking and research behind the solution are what employers want to know more about. It doesn’t matter how incredible your UI skills are if the how and why you reached these deliverables is not apparent.

 

Portfolio Guidelines

When presenting yourself online – cut the clever intros. Employers want to see value from the offset and understand your ability to deliver business results. Employers and recruiters are scanning thousands of portfolio’s each month, selling your value will be the difference between getting the call for an interview or being rejected.

For each individual project, employers would expect to see:

1. An Overview

This should come first, defining some basic information and limitations about the project. The viewer should be able to get an impression of what the product is about, what it looks like and how it functions.

  • Purpose of the project — why is it that you started this project
  • Group members —  who you worked collaboratively with
  • Your role — important when telling a story during an interview (how you contributed to the team)
  • Tools used —  what helped you achieve your goal
  • Links — download app, view prototype, data reference etc
  • Final product design— mockups, pictures/videos

Tip: Don’t show designs that had no impact or positive results at the end. What is the point of good design if it doesn’t solve any problems?

 

2. UX Process

This is key to a successful portfolio. If you followed a UX process, explain in more details the steps you took. I would advise these 5 steps:

  • Research — reviews, competitive analysis, interviews, surveys etc
  • Ideation — brainstorming, sharing ideas, user journey, persona etc
  • Wireframe — ideas, sketches, brainstorming, what worked and what didn’t, testing results, iterations
  • Prototype — user testing, iteration, towards development (if you did)

Tip: Include pictures of your workshops and team brainstorming ideas, this helps to give the employer a real insight into the way you work.

 

3. Results

This is a short description of what you have learnt from the project, the results it brought to the business and what you will be doing next. This shows your achievements and dedication to the project.

 

Additional tips

  • Curate the work to your strongest projects – the ones with the best results
  • 3+ successful projects are enough
  • Presentation is everything
  • Include a short timelapse of your team working on the project
  • Be Concise —you can talk more in-depth in the interview
  • Be Honest

 

“Having too many things in your portfolio hurts more than it helps.”

 

By explaining the story behind your projects and being confident in your process, your portfolio already communicates so much more to people interested in your work.

I have learnt that companies won’t only hire you for the work you have done, but for what you’re capable of. They are going to invest in you and need to be confident that you can bring value to their team.

UX design portfolio inspiration
Dan Birman
Rachel Schmitz
Vax Liu

 

Other related articles:

Design-Thinking: Designers have become too reliant on surface-level visuals

7 UX tips in a world of ever-changing screen sizes

The top 5 UX tips to consider