How To Ace Your UX Portfolio Review

Friends From The City
Aug 17 · 3 min read

Use this guide to help highlight your past projects in an organized and compelling way. This is a general guide for all UX positions (Research, Content, Design).

Show us what you’re made of!

Hello! You made it to the second round. Congratulations! Now, it’s time for the portfolio review. This is your opportunity to showcase your best work and walk us through your design process.

At Friends, one of our guiding principles is to start with the story. Therefore, we’d recommend preparing a slide deck to help with storytelling.

Tell us about yourself. (5 mins)

We care about you, the whole person. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and hobbies… or whatever you feel comfortable sharing. If you’re a musician, share your music. If you’re an artist, share some art. Don’t be afraid to show your personality. We’d love to see it!

Feel free to include:

  • Where you’re from
  • Education (where you studied, your major)
  • A brief summary of your past experience
  • Current company and team (if applicable)
  • Specific skills (i.e., prototyping, animations, illustrations, etc.)

Include any information you think would help us get to know you better.

Choose 2–3 case studies to showcase. (30 mins)

We’ve allotted 30 minutes to go over 2–3 projects in-depth. For each case study, be sure to note the following before diving deep into your design processes:

  • Your role
  • Collaborators
  • Stakeholders
  • Duration

This information can be highlighted in the title slide of your project.

Sample presentation slides from Dwinawan

State the problem you were trying to solve.

We want to learn why this work was essential to your team. Provide supporting evidence that demonstrates user pain point(s).

It would be helpful to include personas, journey maps, workshopping screenshots, quantitative and qualitative metrics, insights from team discussions, business objectives, measurements of success, and user research insights.

Researchers.

Give us a little insight into your process by including some of these artifacts: research plans, stakeholder interviews, usability tests, etc.

Content Strategists.

Show us examples (not all) of content audits, editorial calendars, style guides, taxonomies, metadata frameworks, and user testing (i.e., Tree Testing). We know you have a good Airtable tucked away somewhere.

Photo by UX Indonesia on Unsplash

Intrigue us with your design process.

This should be the bulk of your slide deck. Your process should demonstrate:

  • “Before” snapshots
  • User research insights
  • Explorations
  • Workshopping (i.e., prioritization)
  • New designs

Given specific constraints and scope, tell us about your design decisions and why you ultimately chose your solution.

Be sure to provide answers to the following questions:

  • How did you validate the new designs?
  • How did you involve stakeholders in your design process?
  • What did you learn from your participation in this project?
  • What methods or techniques informed your decisions?
  • How did you overcome challenges?
  • What was the ultimate impact of your designs?
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

We’ll ask a few follow-up questions. (25 mins)

  • If you’d had more time, what would you have done differently?
  • What was your biggest takeaway from this project?
  • How did you grow as a designer or researcher after the project?
  • What are some lessons learned you’ll carry to other projects?
  • How did you solve challenging problems working with other collaborators? What techniques and/or tools did you use?

We care about style and substance.

At Friends, visual design and storytelling are essential to our creative process. Utilize your slide deck to demonstrate your unique style and aptitude. We often add one or two elements for extra flair: motion, screen recordings, audio, and high-quality imagery. So show us your style and creativity!

Above all, be yourself.

That’s all we ask. Best of luck!

Friends From The City.

Stories about Friends, Civic Tech, Product Design, and the Practice of UX.