In a world of creatives, talent and competition it is essential to stand out from the crowd. Regardless of your education, the best way to 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 set of excellent 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 results).
The most common problem that disqualifies most UX design portfolios is; they don’t present the problem that was solved and the decisions that were made along the way to achieve the results.
There are three main topics that are evaluated in interviews:
1. Quality of execution
2. Clarity in decision-making
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.
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.
Below, are a set of guidelines that will help you tell your story and hopefully land your dream job. The points gathered are of positive and negative feedback from the team’s past job interviews and freelance pitches.
For each project, employers would expect to see:
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?
This is key to a successful portfolio. If you followed a UX process, then explain in more details the steps you took. I would advise these five 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.
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 paragraph shows your achievements and dedication to the project.
- Curate the work to your most influential 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.