As a UX designer, your design portfolio is your best marketing tool. It’s a visual resume that not only helps you land your first job in the field of UX/UI design, but also grow and uplevel your career trajectory.
Your UX portfolio can be used to demonstrate your UX and UI design skills, work experience, highlights from your various projects, as well as how you understand and apply design thinking throughout your process.
Whether you’re sitting down to create your first UX design portfolio with no prior design experience, or are ready to uplevel your career, it’s important to make sure that the UX design portfolio you present in interviews is tailored to fit the role you’re applying for.
In this article, we’ll not only talk about the basics of what a UX portfolio is and why it’s important, but also some self-editing tips that will help your portfolio website stand out from the crowd and showcase your abilities to the highest extent, whether you’re already an experienced, seasoned designer, or are just emerging into the field.
A UX design portfolio is a collection of design case studies that showcases your skillset and your approach to the design process as a whole.
Typically, most people choose to build their portfolio online, in the form of a website, as an additional layer of demonstration that they understand how to create effective digital interfaces and flows.
The online portfolio is then shared as part of the job interview process, so potential employers can see detailed examples of how you approach various challenges in UX design, problem solving, understanding users, research, storytelling, and perhaps most importantly, your ability to empathize with the user journey.
Your portfolio plays a major role in the interview cadence for most UX/UI design positions. It’s so important, in fact, that applications can be moved forward or ignored based on a quick glance through the portfolio.
Janelle Academia, a recent graduate of UX Academy, shared her experience of just how important a UX design portfolio website can be:
The CEO of Carry actually let me know that even though I didn’t have previous design experience, he was so impressed by the work in my portfolio that he decided to learn more about me.
She was eventually offered the job.
UX design work by Janelle Academia
There are two major components that should be included in any portfolio:
- An “About Me” section or page, where you share your own story to highlight the unique skills, personality, and perspectives that you bring to the table.
- Design Case Studies, that tell a comprehensive story of your design work, what problem you set out to solve, the process that you went through, as well as the actual designs that you created from wireframe to polished UI.
In addition to these two fundamental components, many UX design portfolios also include:
- A contact page
- Links to your LinkedIn, or other design-related profiles you have online
- An up-to-date, generalized version of your CV
There are two categories of design case studies you can create and put into a portfolio:
- Original designs
- Redesigns of websites and apps
If you have any experience working as a UX designer, the case studies you put into your portfolio will often showcase the work you’ve accomplished during your career journey as a paid designer — or pro bono work that you might have taken on for the purpose of adding to your portfolio.
If you haven’t yet started working as a UX designer, you might reimagine new features or redesigns within an existing app.
In this case, you would conduct your research and design process as if you were truly a designer working on the existing product. As you present the story within your portfolio, you can showcase your research and design methodology, while making it clear that this was a reimagination, rather than a design that was requested by the company itself.
Redesigns can also be helpful to incorporate if you’re hoping to move into a certain industry, since your prospective employers will be looking to see if you understand the particular requirements within their niche.
If you want to work on a redesign and make it worthy of a portfolio, you’ll need to work on it as if you were assigned it in a job. You should:
- Solve a problem that’s affecting the user experience and hurting the business.
- Interview users, perhaps getting your friends and family to test the website or app, asking them questions — and/or read comments about it online.
- Write out several concepts of how to improve it and explain the pros and cons of each.
- Mock up your best ideas into designs that look great.
Your portfolio is your very own little corner of the internet and, in our competitive UX/UI design industry, it’s crucial to make the most of this space. In this webinar and interview, Kelly shares her top tips for crafting an effective design portfolio.
Read the full article here