5 Steps to Build an Awesome UX Portfolio : You Must Follow
Effectively portraying your skills and expertise holds more relevance than usual if you are a UX designer. As its an open proof of skill and proficiency, from an employer’s perspective, a designer is as good as their portfolio.
Graphic designers and photographers have been using design portfolios since ages where visual appeal is given prime importance.But when it comes to UXers, good experience and visual appeal, both act as key metrics in prospective employers gauging your ability.
We round up 5 UX portfolio building best practises that will help you differentiate yourself and grab positive attention.
Read Before Build an Awesome UX Portfolio
1. Personalization matters
People want to hire people, not robotic work machines. And when the question is that of UX designers, your self-presentation becomes even more significant.
You can let them know about how awesome you are by either directly having a description page or indirectly through your portfolio style. Moreover, the biography section should totally be about you (devoid of your work)and highlight your positive points. Extra efforts in adding the “coolness” quotient pay off.
Some personalization concepts are:
- Storytelling: What attracts you in UX designing field? Why are you passionate about it, What are your USPs? Talk about your origins and things that may differentiate you.
- Perspective: It’s always nice to be a little opinionated and share your point of view on things. Do that on your portfolio and let them know what you think.
- Aside from work: You have a thing for quirky t-shirts? Do you like playing chess? Or maybe both?
- Tell them. Let them know you are not a robot but have varied interests and are a socially aware individual.
- Geoff Kimball has applied this concept smartly, maybe you should take a cue from it.
2. Intelligent Targeting
Having discussed personalization, it’s time to talk about the right personalization for the right audience.
Lizzy here works for/wants to work for projects with a creative, arty and cartoon-ish interface. See her social media links are cute little fluffy sheep? By having those, she lets the prospective employer know that she is fully capable of understanding and designing interface in the anime/cartoon domain. However, if she were to design an interface for a post-graduate college….well let’s just say Lizzy wouldn’t try because she is targeting a niche section.
Knowing what your expertise is good. But targeting the right people who can benefit from that expertise is even more important. If you are targeting a growing startup, you can afford to be a little bold but if you are targeting an in-house corporate role, you better show some depth and gravity in your work and bio.
Here are some roles and what they demand out of you. Make sure your portfolio shows them through text, case studies or visuals.
|User Ex. Lead||Work quality & methods||Self-sufficiency||Team work|
|Project Manager||Process||On time/On Budget||Communication|
|Front end dev.||Prototyping skills||Iterative design||Agility|
|Creative head||Concepts & thoughts||Understanding the problem||Solution effectiveness|
3. Exhibit your thought process + problem-solving abilities
UX depends a lot on understanding the psyche of users and applying that to build a design process The process taken between a problem and it’s solution is what differentiates a good UX designer from average ones. When you talk about it through the wireframes you sketched or studied the product/user requirement, you depict your understanding capabilities of the UX design toolkit and application of the right tools and process to solve a problem.
Moreover, as you describe these scenarios be very clear in telling what the problem was and how you solved it.
4. Being beautiful
If the world was not bent on visual appeal, Apple would not make so much sales revenues and all Hollywood actors would be hired solely for acting. Let’s face it, beauty matters. In addition to your process, you have to show your creative and aesthetic approach in building a good UX design. However, there are many designers who take this concept too seriously and focus on displaying the “pretty” aspects of their work, forgetting all about functionality and usability. Never forget usability...we repeat….NEVER forget usability. Beauty is next most important though.
5. Intelligently handling NDA work
NDA work always puts UX designers in a catch 22 situation. On the one hand you need to show evidence of your work, skills and experience to your prospective employer, on the other you are legally obliged to keep your project in “confidential” mode and are bound by nondisclosure agreement. Moreover, you stand to risk your reputation as the future employer might think you will betray their trust.
Cleverly addressing NDAs will not only fulfill your purpose but also depict your smartness and respect for NDA.
When the NDA clients you have worked with are quite reputed names, you can always name those clients as a list rather than actually showing what the work was. Most employers will understand that if you have designed something for a reputed name (and it was useful to them), it would have been good and you are unable to show it due to NDA.
We know this might sound tedious, but it’s quite a smart maneuver. You must follow this approach for NDA projects which your are really confident on. However, you must mention that it’s a recreation.
3.Grey out and blur sensitive information
The bigger picture is more important to the prospective employer than information. When you blur out the text but let the point of an image stay intact, you get the job done without any problematic elements.
This should be your first step actually. You can simply ask your clients for permission to use your work in portfolios. However, you must offer to remove sensitive information such as project details and design elements.
5.Smart photography angle
In process and functionality sketches and whiteboards, you can click pictures in such a manner that they convey the concept without being readable.
6.Text without visual
This should be your last resort. Descriptive paragraphs. The written account of projects. However make sure they are as descriptive as possible in as less words.
Wrapping it up
When you are a UX designer, your portfolio is your resume and proof of your skill. It matters more than your educational achievement. The more you pull it out of isolation and spread it around through person to person promotion & sharing, the more are your chances of your portfolio reaching the right person. Another important thing is to have a downloadable version of your portfolio on your website (preferably PDF) in case people want to see it offline.
Author Signature: Victoria Brinsley is an Android app programmer with Appsted Ltd – a leading enterprise of mobile application development. If you want to explore Android app development cost, get in touch with her for best advice or assistance.