UX design is increasingly becoming an in-demand skill set across industries. 2020 accelerated digital transformation efforts, and companies are hard at work recruiting talent to improve their applications and streamline the customer experience. So whether you’re a seasoned UX professional with a handful of projects under your belt, or a new designer looking to break into the field, here are some tips for creating a portfolio that’ll be sure to stand out.
Before setting out to create your portfolio, it’s a good idea to take stock of your past UX and design projects. Ask yourself, what am I good at? What kind of designer am I? What sort of projects am I excited to work on? Posing these questions will help you focus and nail down exactly what you want to convey in your portfolio. If you’re new to UX, chances are you won’t have a ton of past projects under your belt. That’s ok! You likely still have some design chops if you’ve decided to make the career change. Include any personal projects that you may have worked on and show the viewer, hiring manager, or digital staffing agency how you went from an idea to a finished product. Think about your ideal design job, how your current skillset matches that role, and tailor your portfolio towards that end.
This may go without saying, but determining the visual layout of your portfolio early is key. Ultimately, you’re interviewing for design jobs, so you don’t want to overlook this core component. Only use high quality images and determine visual elements like fonts and a color palette and adhere to them throughout. Here are a few standout portfolios you can use as inspiration!
Showing your process is a key component of a strong UX portfolio. Isolate a few projects you’ve worked on and present them as case studies. Don’t just include the final design, but rather illustrate to the viewer how you arrived there. If the project went through multiple interactions, perhaps include early wireframes and sketches as well as the final product. Maybe you worked on building a public-facing application? Include user-flows and mockups to highlight specific features and how they relate to one another. The hiring manager or digital staffing agency will appreciate your thoroughness here.
Don’t shy away from your failures either. UX design usually involves a great deal of problem solving. The best designers are the ones who can bring creative solutions to complex projects. Hiring managers will want to see a demonstrated ability to work through trial and error and arrive at the most fulfilling user-experience possible.
Rarely do designers work alone. They play a part in a larger design team, and sometimes work across departments with developers and software testers, particularly when it comes to application development. This is your chance to really showcase your expertise. Narrow down particular aspects of projects where your skills as a UX designer really shine. Show off your contributions, and state how this elevated the final product. Be sure to include high-res images here too so a hiring manager or digital staffing agency can get a sense of your contributions at a quick glance.
At the end of day, a portfolio is a presentation of who you are as a designer. It should provide insight into your process and methods, and ultimately help a hiring manger or digital staffing agency get to know you. An “About Me” is the perfect opportunity to tell them a bit about yourself. But keep it brief. This section should be gripping, short, and impactful. Try to include some visual elements consistent with the rest of your portfolio as well. Feel free to inject more personality here if you’re new to the field and don’t have a ton of experience under your belt.
Remember, your portfolio should tell a story. One that a simple resume can’t convey. Don’t be afraid to take risks and get creative. Whether you’re a seasoned professional, or a new designer looking to break into the field, adhering to a few guidelines will go a long way in helping you craft a portfolio that’s sure to stand out.