Getting ready for your Portfolio Review: 20 Tips to Create a Successful UX Portfolio
As a UX designer, a portfolio is where you compile your best works for potential employers to view your past works. A portfolio is your virtual stage, for you to showcase your past projects, case studies, skills, knowledge, experiences, and who you are through your works. Hence, that is why the first impressions of your portfolio are essential to get hired.
So, if you have created a portfolio and feel something is lacking, or have some ideas on what to insert on your portfolio but are clueless about how to translate the ideas visually, this information could guide you to create an effective portfolio.
The content of this blog is divided into two sections:
a) 10 UX Portfolio Design Tips
b) 10 UX Portfolio Content Tips
UX Portfolio Design Tips
Keep your portfolio clutter-free.
The design of your UX portfolio does affect the mood of your potential employers. Visualize your potential employers scanning through your clutter-free portfolio effortlessly while smiling. The information in the portfolio could be understood quicker compared to a cluttered portfolio.
Consistent and easy-to-navigate. A consistent and easy to navigate portfolio not only saves a lot of time but provides a pleasant user experience to your potential employers or clients. Create a portfolio that is user-friendly towards the target audience of your portfolio.
More visual, fewer words. It would be best if you could use visuals to explain some of the information in your portfolio rather than explaining them in lengthy sentences. Visuals could also simplify and help to cut some of the wordy information that tends to make a UX portfolio look impressive and neat.
Experimenting with shades, placements & shadows. When highlighting an important section, transitions, or information, try and experiment with shades, placements, and shadows. These are useful to indicate understanding what is the important information in the portfolio and guide the viewer on which area that they should be focusing on.
Trigger viewer's curiosity. Increase the audience's curiosity through your UX portfolio design. Trigger their interests to know more about your projects and who you are as a UX designer. For example, displaying little information on your case studies through the thumbnails makes the audience want to click the thumbnails to know more about your projects.
Filling the space with thumbnails. You have the option to fill the space of your portfolio with thumbnails that could lead to your projects, case studies, or your in-depth profile if you like. Some UX designers prefer a minimalist portfolio design, so how you use the space could reflect your principles and identity as a UX designer.
Think about the rationale behind your visuals/elements. Do the visuals or elements play an important purpose in your portfolio or will the elements provide unnecessary information? Choose and insert visual elements that lead to a better understanding of the content of your UX portfolio.
Get inspiration from other portfolios. There are many examples on the website. If you have yet to browse the examples on the internet, you can start referring to one here by CareerFoundry on the 9 Of The Best UX Design Portfolio Examples.
Navigate your portfolio as the viewer. Now that you have completed the design and content of your portfolio, it is time to browse through as the client or potential employer. Change your perspective or thinking hat. Have you displayed your portfolio well?
Get feedback from other people. Before you release your UX portfolio to your client, share your portfolio with your family, friends, or someone who is willing to give constructive feedback. Reflect on this feedback and make the necessary changes.
UX Portfolio Content Tips
Craft your best About page.
Creating an engaging introduction about yourself as a UX designer is necessary. The best representation is subjective to each designer. In this section, you have the freedom to represent who you are with your creativity. Just don’t go too overboard.
Provide an overview of your portfolio. Briefly present the content of your UX portfolio at the beginning, so that your clients will understand the direction of the information that will be presented in your portfolio.
Prevent overload information. Keep your portfolio with relevant information. Overloading your portfolio with unnecessary content will distract the client’s attention on which information to focus on. This also will interrupt the flow of your content.
Highlight your best works. Highlight your best works that are related to the job descriptions or clients’ requests. This will increase the chances of you getting hired.
Present the titles and subtitles of your case studies effectively. Create compelling headlines to attract the viewer’s attention and use the subtitles to describe the key point of the project. A clear title and subtitles could increase the interest of your client to view your case studies.
Share your journey from beginning to end.
Organize your content like telling a story; introduction, climax, and ending. Think as if your portfolio is the reference eBook to your work and who you are. Get excited to tell your story!
Insert project reflections. Be honest with your mistakes and reflect on the projects. Share with your audience what you think you could have done better and your learning experience. The potential employer might be learning something new from you!
Provide background information on your case studies.
Background information could provide a better understanding of your case studies. It acts like a map, highlighting the key points that the audience will stumble upon while browsing through the visuals or words.
Highlight your problem-solving skills. Ensure that you highlight your problem-solving skills in your portfolio. This will demonstrate your decision-making process, your desire to improve, and your willingness to learn.
Re-read the content and re-look the visuals
Once you are happy with the content you want to present in your portfolio, re-read the content for typos, grammar, or repetition. Do you understand the message you are trying to convey to the audience?
Re-look at the visuals in your portfolio; are they the right sizes, the right color, look the way it is supposed to be, or does it look odd? You can get someone to proofread your content and get feedback on the visuals that you used.
More insightful tips from our mentor Jan Haaland, a UX Consultant at Webstep in Norway:
Don’t just bore people with process, tell stories!
Have a clear structure
Embrace conflict, tension, and failure
Communicate that you have the skills to do the job