Practical guide to design an irresistible UX Portfolio

Practical guide to design an irresistible UX Portfolio

A UX portfolio is not like the one of a photographer, publicist, or graphic designer. We often tend to link a designer’s profile to creativity, even brilliance, as if he or she was a lone wolf who works at night in a dark room on incredible, unique ideas. If that is what you thought, I am sorry to break it to you, but UX designers are not that glamorous.

In the user experience universe, there are skills that go beyond image. It compasses empathy, solve-problem capacity, or the process of facing a project. Of course, criteria and having a good eye and good taste are also a must. However, as I have said many times, UX is more than just pretty designs.

Your portfolio needs to show your soft skills. In this article, I will not only tell you the reason for that, but also, we will go through everything that a portfolio must have to reach the sky. 

Designing your portfolio is a UX job

The best advice I could give to you is to take the design of your portfolio seriously as if it was a product, which, in fact, it is. That is the right mindset, since it will guarantee you satisfactory results and will make your portfolio THE one. 

When you are about to start a new project, what is the first thing that you determine? The goal and the user, that is, the person. Your goal is to get a job as a UX designer, and your user profiles are two: recruiters and UX leaders of your new teamwork. In that order. Your goal is to come up with an attractive and clear portfolio for both users. One of them knows more about UX than the other. 

Let’s dive into the recruiting world. In general, during the selection process, recruiters filter resumes. They select the outstanding ones and call them for an interview. Depending on the company, the second or third interview is conducted by leaders or future teammates. During this entire process, they will check your portfolio and see if you can really perform the skills you have been mentioning in the previous interviews. They will take your portfolio as a reference to ask your questions to get to know more about your process.

The Key is in the Process

UX/UI designers do “pretty” designs, but that is a basic request for the job. What else do you have to offer? Your process. By “process” I refer to the whole work and thinking that is behind every decision that you make in a project, but we will talk about that later. 

Design and Justification

Let’s suppose that you made a low-fidelity prototype and then you made it a high-fidelity one. Why did you do it? Did you have a short time? Did you make a detailed flow user before adding details on Figma? What did you learn from that? If you had to do it again, what would you do differently?

You need to think that every decision that you make needs to be justified. You do not really need to write a long essay; a short and clear paragraph will do it. UX leaders want to learn about your process, which is how they will see how you can adapt to the team. Always put yourself in the user’s shoes. 

Case Study is the Key to Success 

The most organised and professional way to document your process is through a case study, which is an article that tells everything about your designing process. A case study contains the user research, insights, drafts, alternative designs prior to the final product, how you corrected mistakes, your behaviour towards a mistake, your critical thinking skills in those situations, testing methods, results, and what did you learn. 

Case Study Template

You can design your case study on Figma, Google Slides, or by uploading images to Behance and add text paragraphs for further explanation. Whatever format you choose, your case study must contain the following:   

– A general and brief description of the product that you have been working on, so that the goal of the project is clear.

– The problem, to show the main purpose of the project and that your approach is set to solve a real problem of real users, even if the project was never executed (if it is the case of a personal project.)

– A clear user construction including proto-people or proto-users mapped by you. 

– A detailed list of your responsibilities explaining your role on the project and what you did specifically.

– Restrictions and obstacles that you found on the way. Tell how and why you overcome these difficulties. 

Available Platforms to Upload Your Portfolio

My portfolio is ready, now what? Where do I post it?

Here are three options to display your UX/UI portfolio. These platforms were created exclusively to upload portfolios: Behance or Dribble, a website, and a PDF.

  • Behance or Dribble:These sites were created for people to upload and see other people’s works. Once you create a profile, you can upload your “projects.” These are different works that you will add to your profile and copy the link of your profile or a certain project if you want to focus on just one to include it on your LinkedIn profile, resume, or to just send it to a recruiter. Both Behance and Dribble are exceptionally good options, they are free and very intuitive. They are not the most used by designers, which means that Human Resources people are too familiar with them.
  • Website:Whereas it is a good option, it is a bit risky, since the navigation experience must be impeccable. As a UX designer, it cannot be any other way. If the experience or design are not good, then it will undermine your work. An excellent alternative would be Adobe Portfolio, which allows you to create your own website for this purpose. The best part? It is free, as it comes with your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription!
  • PDF File:Sometimes, job sites ask you to attach a file to apply for a job instead of a link to a website. In these cases, it is crucial to have your portfolio updated in a PDF file. Nevertheless, I do not recommend having your portfolio in a PDF as a single platform to keep your work.

The World Needs to See Your Talent

We live in a world in which being talented is not enough if others ignore that you are talented. Therefore, having an optimised portfolio must be a stronger strategy than building your personal brand as a professional. Keep on working on your LinkedIn profile and networking; sharing your knowledge, findings, and experiences. Set your mind that achieving your goal will depend on small actions. 

In the end, your portfolio is just another tool to help you share with the world what you have to offer. And remember, a successful portfolio is the one that gets you the job, even if it takes ruining the beauty of beautiful mock-ups of a picture of your notepad with handwritten arrows, lines, and sticky notes.