UX Portfolio Tips I Live By

Out in Tech hosted “What’s In Your Portfolio” in February 2021, an event that went through three portfolios reviewed by a mix of those on the hiring side for UX design roles. The live review aimed to provide candid feedback from those whom our portfolios are normally directed at, and ideally, would impress!

Many of the great tips shared during the panel echoed the feedback I heard when I was also putting my own portfolio together after finishing my UX bootcamp with Careerfoundry in 2019. Though the portfolios reviewed were from those seeking entry-level or internship roles, these tips can be applied to UX and product design portfolios across experience levels. It’s important to note that everyone has different perspectives and opinions when it comes to portfolios and how they should be constructed. The advice here is a combination of what was shared in the panel, feedback I’ve received from designers and those on the hiring side, and also what I believe are the basics of a good portfolio.

1. Keep it bold above the fold

my design portfolio header used as an example.
my design portfolio header used as an example.
This is what mine looks like, as an example. I’ve gotten positive feedback from this because it showcases personality and a basic summary of what I do. It’s not perfect, but done is better than perfect!

2. Who, What, Where, When, How (long was the project)

Adding your work environment is important because recruiters are not only hiring for a role, but also a team. When reviewing your portfolio, they are asking themselves a range of questions.

Does this person look like a first design hire?

Are they better for a startup or on a team with established roles?

Was this project completed remotely?

Instead of making the other person guess around what your role was, you can directly state if you worked with other designers, project managers, and others on your team.

3. The Medium is the Message

Other ways to make your portfolio count as an example of good UX is through consistent and thoughtful hierarchy. For example, make it easy for your portfolio visitor to scan for what they need with clear headers and navigation. Just as you want to show off how user-centered you were in your design process, you should showcase it in your case study with aspects like line spacing, content width, and accessible contrast. And in case they want to dig deeper into your case study, you can give them the option by linking out to a report or supplementary media in a drive. As Avantha Arachchi, an operations and talent consultant and one of our event panelists, mentioned, “Make it easy to find the diamonds.” That is to say, give them all the evidence they need to know you’re a great designer and candidate!

And lastly, where you house your portfolio shouldn’t matter. You don’t need a fancy URL or aim to code our own website (unless your goal is to show off your frontend dev skills). Avantha also mentioned a favorite hire in the past used Google Drive to store their portfolio. What is important is that you’re doing a great job of telling the story of your case study, who you are, and what you can do as a designer.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is the standard number of case studies?

Do case studies need to be in the same format?

Should I separate work from fun things I do outside of work?

I hope you found these tips helpful, and good luck to all designers working on portfolios! You can do this.

UX/UI Designer, terrible with plants (she/her) Learn more about me at lukatherine.com

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