Every UX designer knows just how important a portfolio is. Your design portfolio is an online exhibition of your skills as a designer. It’s the first introduction of you and your work to a recruiter, hiring manager or potential client. Your portfolio is basically what determines whether you get called for a job or not. But with hundreds of portfolios that recruiters and potential clients have to go through, how do you make yours stand out from the pile?
This article will answer your portfolio questions and give you tips on how you can make your UX design portfolio stand out among hundreds of others. Let's go...
What should I include in my design portfolio?
Your UX portfolio should contain two things; a fascinating introduction of you, and selected case studies or projects you have worked on. A lot of designers just go straight into their case studies without bothering to show their personality. The recruiter, HR personnel, and potential client not only want to see your work, they also want to know the person behind the work. Don't forget; they will be working with you (if it clicks), and they would want to be able to decide if they will like working with you. This is your chance to make a very good first impression.
How many case studies should I add to my portfolio?
The recommended number of case studies you should include in your portfolio is 3 to 5. If it is less than three, the recruiter or potential client might not get a good grasp of your capabilities. And if it is more than five, it could become laborious and confusing for the person going through them.
How detailed should my portfolio case studies be?
First, you should know what your case studies should consist of. This will help you know how detailed they should be. A case study should show the ‘what’ and the ‘how’. The recruiter and potential client want to see the end product, but they also want to see how you got that result. They want to see your design process. They want to know how your mind works. Thus, your portfolio should be as detailed as to show your design process and the result. This doesn't mean you should add every detail of your project; just enough to show the step-by-step procedure.
These are some of the sections a good case study should contain:
- The title of the project
- The project overview (the problem and the goal)
- The project duration
- Your role and responsibilities
- The user research summary
- Pain points
- User story
- User journey map
- User flow
- Paper wireframes
- Digital wireframes
- Low fidelity prototype
- Usability study
- High fidelity prototype
- Accessibility considerations
5 Tips To Make Your UX Design Portfolio Stand Out
Now that some of your questions have been answered, let’s share some tips you can use to make your portfolio pop among the stack.
1. Select only your best, most relevant work
Only the best is good enough for your design portfolio. Make sure your case studies are carefully selected. They must reflect your design skills to the fullest. It is better to put fewer case studies than include many that portray you as mediocre.
Likewise, make sure to add only related work. Don't add some graphic design work just because you have them. This could pass a wrong signal to the hiring manager or potential client that you don't really know what you want. Pascal Strasche, a freelance UX/UI designer from Germany, put only his best works in his portfolio.
Pascal’s portfolio home page
2. Show off a wide range of skills
If possible, present a variety of projects. For example, all your projects should not be a fintech app, except you’re applying strictly for a fintech role. A mix of a food delivery mobile app, a telecommunication responsive website, and a dog walking app, for instance, shows a wide range of skills. It shows you’re not limited to a niche, or just mobile apps. Pratibha Joshi has an array of projects that demonstrate different skills in her portfolio.
Pratibha’s portfolio displays varied skills
3. Ensure There Are Design Synergies
Even if you’re not into visual or graphic design, it is still wise to make your portfolio aesthetically pleasing. It shows you care enough to put in the effort. That speaks a lot about who you are and what work ethics you have. Make sure there’s synergy among the colors, fonts, headings, and pages. Koenvo’s portfolio is a good example of an attractive portfolio.
4. Make your introductory page incredibly captivating
Your introductory page is what would whet or douse the reader’s appetite. Make it captivating. It should contain your name, your current post, or the one you’re aspiring to. State your area of specialization or interest and any other fascinating fact you would like a recruiter or potential client to know about you. Don’t forget to make it fluid, warm, and conversational. Not too casual, though; just friendly and professional. This is a perfect opportunity to project your personality and make the reader curious enough to want to see your work. And don’t forget to add a stunning picture that portrays your personality and professionalism.
Keels' captivating introductory page
5. Let each project have a short, clear, and simple overview
This is so important. Anyone viewing your project should know what it’s about at a glance, without having to go through the whole project. Recruiters and hiring managers are very busy people and have a tough job picking the best candidates. Make their job easier and give an overview. Simon Pan does this in his portfolio. At a glance, the reader can see what the project is about.
Simon Pan’s project overview
A portfolio is a must-have for every UX designer, and this article just answered your pressing questions on how to make yours stand out. We also added some tips to help you build an outstanding portfolio. Don't forget to check out the examples we gave for inspiration.
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