We are glad to present our comprehensive guide on how to create an outstanding UX case study. These case studies are the core of every design expert’s portfolio. They define whether a dream company will hire you and whether you will get a higher salary. Like any meaningful story, a case study shows your achievements in UX design most effectively. So, how to craft your secret weapon? Let’s see...
The Role of Case Studies in Your Portfolio
UX design is a very hot field and getting a job offer from a dream company is far from easy. You need to stand out to get it! Showing your work results is great, but employers are too busy to solve the puzzle themselves. They want to see your most significant milestones in one place. Your portfolio needs something more substantial than just nice deliverables and screenshots of web and app interfaces.
One of the core components of UX design is communication, so you have to communicate your success to potential employers. So, writing skills (or, rather, storytelling skills) are as crucial as design-related ones.
The Anatomy of a Good Case Study
How can one fit years of experience into a couple of case studies? Let's find out and start with the principal components of a good product design and user experience case study.
#1 — Overview
An overview is a quick summary of a product, a service, or a company. Mention all the basic things about the project you have been working on.
#2 — Problem Statement
Here you state your goals. Why did you work on this project? What was its goal?
#3 — Users and Audience
Briefly describe the target audience you had in mind while working on the product or service. Who exactly was it meant for?
#4 — Roles and Responsibilities
What was your team like and how did you share your responsibilities? Were you the only expert or were you leading your own team of designers?
#5 — Scope and Constraints
What were your working conditions? What were your limits? These may be tight deadlines, a low budget, working across different time zones, etc.
#6 — The Working Process and Actions Taken
This is an essential stage of your story. Describe what you did step-by-step. Specify each step and why you did that (for example, to increase conversion, or to solve user pain points etc).
#7 — Outcomes and Takeaways
This is the grand finale to your story. Tell the readers the result of your work. What goals have you achieved? Which lessons have you learned? What experience have you gained?
The Power of Storytelling
Even though images and pictures cause a stir on socials, fascinating stories continue dominating the market. People use stories to learn, share information, impressions, and emotions — and to pose questions and find solutions for their problems.
- Easy-to-read design case studies command a potential employer’s attention because they are representative. With only one case study on a designer’s portfolio site, recruiters and team leads can make conclusions on one’s design thinking.
- Also, they show how designers work. Case studies answer all the possible questions and employers can decide whether these tactics fit their usual workflow.
- Future team members see how a designer acts when they’re having issues. They grasp one’s way of learning from challenges and mistakes.
As you can see, UX design case studies are a great way to showcase both your hard skills and soft skills! Why not make one?
The Steps to Writing Your Best Case Study
Let’s get started with your best UX case study ever!
1. Name Your Project
The title should reveal the main features of the project. Make it detailed enough and mention your activities (e.g. user flow research), the product (e.g. an app), and the platform (e.g. mobile and desktop).
2. Create an Outline
This should be a short schematic for a bigger picture. You may use the blocks from the ‘The Anatomy of a Case Study’ section. Write a draft for each part.
3. Add Details
Once you have the backbone of your case study, add some context about your design decisions to the process section. To get more ideas, answer these questions:
- What exactly did you do?
- What was the purpose of this activity?
- What results have you achieved?
- What have you learned?
As a product designer, you may mention such important stages as user research and user testing. There are lots of UX activities that go beyond design itself. When writing descriptions, don’t be too vague and keep your content deep and concise. This will create an image of an experienced professional who knows what they’re talking about.
4. Add Attractive Headlines for Activities
User interface and user experience case studies might look like novels. So, take care of those who are about to read yours. Spice up your long story with short and to-the-point headlines. Your reader will take a look at those and get the main idea before reading into the details. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
5. Edit Your Story
Once you’ve done with your case study, look it over again. Make the text more logical and coherent. If it sounds bothersome, keep in mind that even world-known authors always edit their books. Some of them even do that several times. The goal of editing is to achieve exceptional quality. This means more chances that you’ll be hired by your dream company!
Using Case Studies
Any UX design case study is too good to be confined to your hard drive. Share yours online! Make it work in favor of your image — you might be surprised that recruiters actively search for and contact candidates who have prominent case studies published on the web.
- The best format is a web page on your site or blog. If you choose web pages as containers for your brilliant UX case studies, make sure that they work equally smoothly on mobile phones, tablets, and desktop computers.
- Then come text docs, PDFs, and presentations. Downloading a file is an extra step for the reader — and an extra step between you and your dream company. Keep this in mind!
- If you don’t have your own site or blog, use specialized design platforms like Dribbble, Behance, blogging platforms like Medium, or socials like LinkedIn.
Tracking the performance of your UX design stories will give you an understanding of what works best. You’ll know that you’ve done it right when you’re invited to your next interview!
The Best Examples of UX Case Studies
To give you an idea of what to strive for, we collected the top 5 examples by experienced designers:
- Here is an example you might like the most. Lucy Qi has a marketing background, which is noticeable. Her case study is logical and well-structured. Her approach is classic and can be used as a tutorial for creating top-notch UX case studies. Everything is mentioned in the story. You get the ultimate answers to any question. This is brilliant!
- Another great example is brief yet informative. The summary of adding learning value to quizzes on Udemy by Frances Tung. Everyone knows Udemy and you might have even participated in their quizzes. If so, now you know that they are so witty and informative thanks to this product designer!
- Remember we told you that UX case studies can be published on your blog? Here is an example from Danielle Borisoff. A clear structure, an abundance of important details, and a description of each stage all make this story a perfect example for newbies.
- Another interesting case study of cinema UX has been published on Medium by Ariel Verber. It tells us about the steps Cinema City took to make their iOS app outstanding. The structure of the study is concise and clear — as well as the results the company achieved!
- And the last — but certainly not the least — brilliant case study about a cooking app resides in Vitaly Dulenko’s Medium blog. Everything necessary is mentioned and shown in pictures, even the process of creating the IA (Information Architecture)!
Have you received enough inspiration from these UX case studies? If yes, try creating your own success story with FlowMapp. It’s easy and convenient.
A good UX design is the end product summarizing all your activities. This is what sells you as a professional. It drives your image and lets this image work for you. Creating a great case study to showcase your achievements might take you a couple of full-time business days, but you will be more confident in your future success — so it’s definitely worth the effort!
Show your future employer your way of thinking and convince them that you’re the perfect match for their UX design team. Surely you have at least one case study in mind? Grab our guide, sign up to FlowMapp for free, and start telling your success story right away!