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15 Tips to Create an Effective UX Design Portfolio

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Being a UX designer, whether a beginner or an expert, having a UX design is a must to showcase your skills and expertise to the world. A design portfolio helps you gain your job or start your freelancing career and opens a door to many new working opportunities.

It is important to create an effective and impressive UX design portfolio that identifies your uniqueness and creativity to potential clients. Creating a portfolio that helps you stand out from the rest is the need of the hour since this is the only way to attract your audience and get new businesses.

Below are a few tips that you can follow to make your portfolio effective and attract more opportunities.

1. Focus on important projects only

It is better to display a few projects in detail instead of a long list with quick details. A reviewer wants to see one project explained well rather than ten explained briefly. Include your best projects in your portfolio. Three to five projects presented in detail is a good number.

Remember to include projects that are relevant to your potential employer’s field and industry. You can also take it the other way; if you have a preference to work in a particular industry or field, add the related projects in your portfolio to show your interest. It means you can have multiple sets of projects that can be presented to different employers.

2. Describe your process

Explain your design process instead of adding just the final images. Design recruiters want to see your design thinking approach and understand your design decisions while reviewing your portfolio. Focus on HOW you design things and WHY you design things the way you are showing.

Always tell end-to-end stories of your projects from the idea to the final design. Take the reviewer through each step while explaining your and decisions and deep thoughts behind them. Show the results and value that you are bringing to a business.

3. Write case studies

Take your project as a and walkthrough the reviewer while explaining your design thinking concept. The areas that you should focus on:

  • What was the problem statement?
  • What was your role in the project?
  • Who were the target users and what were the pain points that you resolved?
  • What approach did you follow to resolve the problem?
  • Tell your design process. For example, you did user research, developed personas, created user flows, got user feedback, etc.
  • What challenges you faced in the process, and how you resolved them? Go into the details of your struggle.
  • What are the results of this design exercise, what you achieved and how does it impact the employer and its business?
  • What did you learn from this project, and how it helped you improve your skills?

It is nice to show a glimpse of deliverables you worked on like personas, user flows, journey maps, wireframes before you display the final design screens. This will help you to express both your knowledge and the process you followed.

4. Explain user research methodology

User research is the foremost critical step in the design process that behaves as a foundation of the design decisions taken at later stages. Effective user research is the only way to build a product that matches closely with the users’ actual needs.

  • Describe the research process
  • Number of users who participated in the process
  • How did you conduct research?
  • How you followed a customized approach for each project?
  • What were the challenges and how you resolve them?
  • How this research impacted your design process and what outcomes you achieved?

Don’t forget to include research deliverables like user personas, use cases and user flows in your case studies.

5. Describe the value you produced

It is important to mention the results that you achieved from each of the listed projects. The work you are doing must be adding value to your client or your business. Highlight that value and how it helps your business to grow in the market.

The value you are producing for your client or your business through your design work will help the reviewer to analyze your worth in terms of the value they can add to their business through your skills.

6. Show stats

Presenting meaningful data is an excellent way to show the results. Use stats to convert the complex results and outcomes into a user-friendly format. Present numbers to highlight your results and achievements.

You can describe the data and stats for each stage of the process. For example, a few common stats include:

  • Team members working on the project
  • Number of participants in user research
  • Number of personas identified
  • Complexity of features
  • Usability test conducted
  • Usability issues resolved
  • Number of design iterations
  • Time spent on each stage

And there can be many more depending on the type of project you are describing in your portfolio.

7. Mention your learnings

Document the lessons learned for each project and describe how you define action items for future projects that helped you increase effectiveness and efficiency in your work. This section not only describes your process but also highlights your efforts and readiness to improve yourself based on past experiences.

8. Do effective writing

Good writing skills are required to present your process effectively. Write your portfolio in simple words. Don’t overwhelm the reviewer with a lot of details, instead try to use concise and meaningful sentences. Describe your process in logical order so that reviewer can easily walk through each stage and know about your role, tasks, and outcomes.

Proofread your and seek input from others. Do the spell and grammar checks because a single mistake raises questions on the quality of the entire information. Remove any unnecessary details.

9. Use visuals

A design portfolio can include many design images and flows to describe your process and outcomes. Use images that are related to your work and help the reviewer to understand the information you want to present. Also, use a good number of images that truly reflect your skills and expertise.

To describe your findings and results, show stats visually as it is easier to scan and understand the data in visual form.

10. Provide easy navigation

When a reviewer is looking at your portfolio, he would navigate through different projects and sections. Effective navigation makes your portfolio easy to review and understand the process. Difficult navigation will annoy the reviewer no matter how impressive your work is.

Make it convenient for the reviewer to look at your portfolio and know about the sections and details without going into the details of each section.

11. Choose colors wisely

Choose colors wisely to build your portfolio. You can highlight different sections with separate colors in the portfolio to make it easier to scan. Also, while designing user flows and use cases, try to use consistent colors.

No need to get worried about the design screens as they will show the branding colors of the product/app you are describing.

12. Redesign artifacts

If you have an impressive project that was designed previously but you want to include it in your portfolio, it is better to redesign the artifacts by following the latest design and trends.

This will make it consistent with your latest work and it helps to reflect your current skill set.

13. Get reviewed your portfolio

Always get your portfolio reviewed before sharing it with your potential clients or recruiters. You can consult with a colleague or hire an expert to review your portfolio. Get feedback and incorporate changes before making a final version.

A second eye will help you to identify minor mistakes and inconsistencies that you may skip while continuously working on your portfolio.

14. Keep it online

You can have either an online or an offline portfolio. However, an online portfolio is the need of the hour as it helps you build an online presence that is important than ever. An online portfolio looks more professional and provides easy navigation of the content. It is more convenient to manage an online portfolio as it is easier to embed the bits of your prototypes that will give a good impression.

You can password protect your work if it is sensitive to show to every user visiting your portfolio. Remember to update your portfolio frequently as well as get it reviewed more often.

15. Be honest

Above all, always be honest while presenting your work. Being honest will help you describe your work, your process, and your learning in a natural and impressive way. This also helps you boost up your confidence while elaborating your portfolio to someone else.

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Originally published at https://uxdworld.com on May 12, 2021.


15 Tips to Create an Effective UX Design Portfolio was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.