The Do’s and Don’ts of Creating Your UX Portfolio
‘Your education is the most valuable thing you can have’ is a saying drilled into many of us from the first day of school to the last. After that, the focus of the phrase turns from education to experience — ‘Grades don’t define you’ and ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ burn our ears along with ‘What’s your next step?’.
This concept can be transferred to the design world, where it is commonly said that a portfolio is more important than a degree. The level of a person’s education can become irrelevant if they own a portfolio that indicates their best skills along with the quality of their work and how they have chosen to present it.
Whether you have years of experience and education on your back, or none at all, putting together a portfolio can be tricky. Here are some do’s and don’ts of creating your UX portfolio:
DO Present Your Problem-Solving Abilities
In a nutshell, UX is all about problem-solving. An employer hiring a UX designer will prioritise the person’s ability to solve a user’s problems in the best way. Be sure to use an example of what a problem was, what you were designing for and how you went about finding the solution.
DO Include Visual Ability
This applies to UX and UI roles — aesthetic skills should also be showcased as an addition to your processes. First impressions count, especially when potential employers may only want to spend a couple of minutes looking through a portfolio before making a decision. Dedicate great attention to detail to your portfolio to ensure that your work is good and looks good!
DO Share Photos and Sketches of Your Process
Photos and sketches should play a part in your visual ability being included. Writing about your work isn’t enough, so adding photos and sketches to your portfolio can do more of the talking and telling of your design story.
DO Show The Results of Your Work
UX thrives on the feedback from a user’s experience of a product, so it is important for designers to implement this quality by showing their own results from previous case studies. If it is possible, explain how your work affected product success and company performance, along with user feedback and how the product helped the user.
DON’T Fail To Keep It Up To Date
Portfolios should be living alongside you. Having up to date information and projects in your portfolio not only demonstrates organisation and attention to detail, it also suggests that you are self disciplined, can self assess, and that you are on the ball with current trends and affairs. Everytime you mark the finish line of a project, make sure you mark time to document it in your portfolio while your mind is still fresh.
DON’T Focus on Quantity Over Quality
It’s better to have a handful of projects so that there is more room to showcase them in detail. Your portfolio doesn’t have to be an archive of everything you have worked on and as previously mentioned, many employers may not have the time to ruffle through mountains of work.
DON’T Take All of The Credit
If you didn’t design and produce every aspect of a project, be sure to share the credit amongst the people that were involved. While other parts of your portfolio show that you can work independently, highlighting your teammates’ efforts subtly tells employers you are a good team player.
DON’T Focus On Perfection
Perfection doesn’t exist — don’t overthink it. What matters is your drive to get designing, get involved with the UX design community and get building your portfolio. Being happy with your thought processes and end results is what should be strived for, not perfection.
Overall, a good portfolio should demonstrate the breadth of your skills as a designer, present your approach and thought processes to UX, as well as giving a glimpse of what you are like and what it’s like working with you.
Author: Sophie Hall