You are a designer and you are about to hit it big with your first big UX job. The only reason you are in a discussion as this is that you are a designer, so you can’t stop at just telling everyone that you are a designer – they already know that. You need to show it and prove how your mettle as a designer. How do you do this? You go in prepared with your professional portfolio, which is the opportunity of your life to showcase your skills as a designer.
Your portfolio, as a designer, is your own personal website which features some of your previous works and showcases your design skills. So many times, your UX design portfolio is the difference between getting the job and being ignored. That is how important your UX design portfolio is, so, it is important that you do not miss it here at all.
How Do You Make Your UX Design Portfolio Excellent?
According to professional designers, there are three major factors that help the UX design portfolio. If you are looking to gain a competitive edge as a new UX designer, the three factors that you need to stand up are:
- A compelling story: a very strong portfolio will include a compelling story that indicates why you are great as a UX designer, why this career path is natural for you, and why you are going to be successful at it.
- Your personality: your UX design portfolio should include some facts about you that detail your personality and make you an appealing option for your professional audience.
- Fancy animations: you should use these animations only if you are able to do it well.
These three tips will are sure going to help you build a good UX design portfolio. There are, however, certain things that you can also do that could destroy all the hard work that you have put into building a successful UX design portfolio. These are the don’ts of a top portfolio:
- Do not keep a long portfolio: this is one mistake that you might be tempted to make. Your UX design portfolio should only contain elements that are relevant to help you tell a compelling story. Be as concise as possible!
- Do not add videos: it is more professional for you to add music (and subtitles if possible), and also capture interactive prototype. Instead of adding videos to it.
- Do not just show pictures, show the process: your employers have no interest in your pretty pictures if it does not show them how you will solve problems and the processes that they want to see.
- Do not neglect your portfolio’s UX and UI: you have to ensure that you have a good color scheme and a clean layout, and your typography is clear. You are a designer and if you can’t get it right with your personal website, then you do not expect employers to have the confidence to hire you.
- Do not prioritize quantity over quality: you might think it might be a good idea to impress the recruiter with the number of projects that you have in your portfolio. If you are a new designer, you might also get intimidated by other designers that have more than 20 designs in their portfolio. While it is a good thing to have such numbers, what is more, important is to have good quality. Designers can showcase numerous designs on their portfolio and it is not the quality that the employers desire. So, if you have just 3 or 4 designs to showcase and they are top quality, you are better placed than someone with 15 designs and only 1 has a good quality.
Now that you have an idea what makes up a good UX design portfolio and what the don’ts of a good portfolio are, the next big thing you should know (which really is the most important thing) is the best practices for creating a good UX design portfolio. Here are 5 best practices:
Maintain the tried and trusted format
There is a standard format for creating UX design portfolios these days. This makes it easier for the designer to structure their portfolio after that particular format or template. While you are expected to be creative as a designer, it really is not necessary for you to try to create your own UX portfolio format. Just stick to the accepted standards. Get a portfolio with the right format and follow the basic layout. It does not seem to be the most creative thing to do but it is better to use something widely accepted than creating something strange that doesn't sit well with the people you are trying to impress. It is also a way to ensure that you create a user-friendly portfolio because the recruiters are already familiar with the format and structure you used.
Present yourself correctly
Recruiters really do not want to spend a lot of time waiting for you and hoping that you will convince them that you are the right person for them. You have to believe that they have a number of options before them. So, you want them to believe that you are the designer they want and they are in the right place as soon as they open your portfolio. You do not want them to doubt your credibility as a UX designer. So, you have to make that as clear as possible from the onset.
The homepage of your portfolio should have a prominent sentence that clearly states what you are doing and who you are. You should also state this on your LinkedIn profiles and every one of your online profiles. It has to be clear to all that you are a UX designer.
Tell a story that shares your process
The use of a portfolio is for the designer to tell their story. Why are you doing what you are doing? How good are you at what you do? You do not need someone helping you out with professional writing services before you are able to tell your story. As a new designer, you do not even have to have a background as a designer to be convincing in your story. Just identify the events, experience, and skill that has shaped you till that moment and how you ended up being a designer.
Your story will help to capture their attention. Are there any better things that you can do with their attention than to share your processes and some of your past designs?
A good UX designer understands purpose and process deeply and can execute both in their project. It gives your employer an idea of how you develop your ideas and how you solve problems. So, show the project and the processes that birthed it. This gives them an idea of how your mind works.
Showcase your strengths
Your portfolio does not have to include every project you have ever done. So, what you show in your portfolio to the recruiter should depend on what role you are pursuing. You have to be careful in choosing what to emphasize in your portfolio. For example, if you are seeking a UI design role, your emphasis should be on typography and color palettes, but if you are going into research, then your focus has to be along that line too.
What is important is that you play to your strengths, only portraying the image of yourself that you want them to see. If you are not decisive about adding a particular element to the portfolio, ask yourself if it helps the story you are telling. Discard it if it does not. It is enough for you to only highlight relevant skills to the job you are in for. Remember that you might not be totally responsible for how they choose to see you. But you are totally responsible for what you show them.
Include data and imagery
Adding data and images to your story will help you to create a compelling story. As much as you can, show measurable results on your project outcome, as this can help you create a portfolio that stands out. Even if it is just an increase in sign up rate or revenue after redesigning the website, it makes sense that you include such data to help you tell a compelling story.
If you do not have the numbers that you need, there are other ways you can create something compelling that showcases your knowledge. An example is to outline your objectives and add business goals while describing the statement of the problem.
Photos also help you tell your story beautifully, so, it is important that you add visual evidence in your portfolio. You can capture each process of the way as you work. Even if you do not have pictures, you can doctor some for your portfolio, just make sure you do not go picking images from the web.
Now, you have all the information that you need to create a UX design portfolio and create a beautiful and compelling one. In case you are stuck, or in need of inspiration, you can always surf the web.