UX Portfolio Tips and Best Practices
In his memoir Let My People Go Surfing, Yvon Chouinard, founder of global outdoor brand Patagonia, writes:
“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”
So it is in the world of UX design, where methodology matters most, especially in the pursuit of clients and career opportunities. One of the best ways for UX designers to demonstrate methodology and show problem-solving proficiency is through a well-designed portfolio website.
Rather than thinking of portfolios as a showcase of skills — “This is what I can do” — UX designers should take the chance to illustrate their process and create a delightful user experience — “This is how I use design to solve people’s problems.”
Likewise, designers should tailor portfolios to a specific audience — a.k.a. the people they want to work with and the industries they want to work in. Why?
UX design is a wide-ranging field with diverse titles like interaction designer, UX researcher, information architect, and experience strategist. These roles exist to improve the user experience, but they aren’t the same. Each makes its own unique contribution to the product design process.
In this guide, we’ll show UX designers how to craft a brilliant portfolio website by…
- Examining essential questions about process;
- Sharing practical portfolio design tips and resources; and
- Providing compelling examples of UX portfolios.
Let’s get started.
Portfolio Questions Every UX Designer Must Answer
When it comes to UX portfolios, designers can’t afford to be ambiguous about the skills they possess, the process they use, or the kinds of projects they specialize in, but they should also be wary of presenting too much information.
Likewise, UX portfolios should not be a repository for ALL past work. Pick projects that are specific, recent, and outstanding, and present them as a process with all the UX design steps it took to arrive at the best solution.
Striking a balance between clear and concise requires planning. Before a single UX portfolio page is outlined, there are crucial questions that need to be addressed. Don’t skip these. The answers unlock must-have portfolio content and serve as a site’s organizational framework.
What Type of UX Designer Am I?
Don’t confine future career opportunities to past job titles. Take time to evaluate what you actually do and how you do it. You might be surprised to find that you’ve been mislabeled throughout your career. The goal of this question is to get to the center of your UX design process — to uncover the problem-solving patterns you rely on again and again.
This is a big question, but don’t be afraid of what you might find. Like all big questions, it’s best to unpack with smaller questions, so ask yourself…