UX designers use UX portfolios to showcase their design process, knowledge, and skills to get hired by a new client.
The primary purpose is to get hiring managers interested, and your UX portfolio is a tool for the first step in the hiring process. A UX design portfolio is arguably even more important than your CV.
Hiring managers want to see who you are as a person. What you can do, what part of UX you specialise in, how you work and how you think. Many recruits evaluate your portfolio based not only on the content of your UX case studies but also on the standard of your design.
The most important thing you can do to ensure your UX portfolio grabs attention, regardless of your level, is show your process.
A typical mistake I have seen in many portfolios is that designers don't show what process they have followed in creating their UX design portfolio and only showcase high-fidelity prototypes.
Many hiring managers will spend less than 5 minutes seeing whether you're a good fit for what they are looking for, so your portfolio must be scannable and readable. Ensure your portfolio is easy for the hiring manager to consume.
Hiring managers want to see skills that go beyond making designs and deliverables.
Online and PDF portfolios serve different purposes. You will often use your online portfolio to apply for jobs and only send PDF portfolios to interested hiring managers.
You want your website to capture the attention of hiring managers. Your online portfolio gives hiring managers a quick overview of your abilities. An Online portfolio also helps you get discovered more quickly, which is standard practice for UX designers. Your website should tell people who you are, your skills and what you are looking for. It should provide a preview of your work and the projects you have worked on. It would help if you used it to apply for job openings. Your online portfolio should have a clear call-to-action button and links to your Linkedin or other social media accounts.
Potential website tools to use:
For my portfolio, I use https://uxfol.io/ because they provide: UX portfolio templates, UX case study generator, stunning galleries for your UIs, auto-generated device mockups, and copywriting help. They also have community and expert feedback to review your case studies.
You will use your PDF for job interviews and in the later stages of the hiring process. It would be best if you tailored your PDF portfolio to each job role and position you apply for. Your PDF portfolio tends to showcase more in-depth detail of your case studies, and you can give a detailed and lengthy explanation of your design process. It is better to remove irrelevant UX case studies from your portfolio.
Tailor your PDF portfolio to each job role and position you apply for.
Potential tools you can use.
Your PDF portfolio should be accessible on most devices. You should also ensure that your portfolio is in read-only mode. Upload your PDF portfolio to a cloud service such as dropbox or google drive. This way, you can send hiring managers a link to your PDF portfolio whenever needed.
Ask yourself which projects provide the best representation of your skills. Does the project represent the range of industries you have worked in?
There is no correct number of projects, but your projects must reflect your skills. I would recommend having a minimum of 2 projects.
As mentioned earlier, hiring managers might only have 5 mins to read through your portfolio and might only make it through the first project. You want to ensure that they see your range of skills and that you have done everything to put your best foot forward.
A UX case study is an example of your design work to give hiring managers vital insights by telling compelling stories in text and images to show how you have handled problems, showcasing your skills and your way of thinking. Your case study should be relevant to the job role for which you want to apply for. Your case studies should demonstrate the initial stage of empathizing with the users to the final stage of creating a prototype.
Give the hiring manager reading your case study the most important information first to help them understand what project you worked on.
Illustrate how you solved the problem stated in the introduction. Show your design thinking process; you should straightforwardly present them in your case study. You should show your approach, process and strategy and take the hiring manager through your journey from starting point to end goal.
Now that you have the content and story of your project. It is time to add visual elements, examples, and a representation of what you did. By visuals, you should include visual artefacts such as customer journeys; user flows, wireframes, screens, interfaces, etc.) When you think of visuals in your case study, you might want to jump straight into beautiful images of your final designs. Your case study should showcase your journey from the problem statement to the final design. Showcase your progress through your visuals. You must explain your visuals and add context.
Always remember to photograph and document your design process.
Make sure every single visual you include helps tell the story of your project.
What is the visual communication and adding to this project? Are the artefacts clear and readable?
Recommended training for your UX portfolio
How to create a UX portfolio - Interaction Foundation
UX Portfolio Formula - Sarah Doody
Build a powerful UX Portfolio - Joe Natoli
I hope this article helps you to create your next UX portfolio.